Robin van Persie is set to return for Manchester United as they look to bounce back in Sunday's Premier League trip to Sunderland.
The availability of Netherlands star Van Persie, given an extended break after the World Cup, will boost manager Louis van Gaal, who will hope to prove last week's 2-1 home defeat to Swansea City was an aberration.
A promising pre-season tour and the arrivals of Van Gaal, midfielder Ander Herrera and defender Luke Shaw lifted the gloom around Old Trafford after a disastrous seventh-placed finish last term.
But last Saturday's result proved that change is a gradual process, and that the ex-Netherlands coach has much work to do on his side if they are to claim a top-four finish.
But while Herrera, Marouane Fellaini (both ankle) and Jesse Lingard (leg) have been added to United's lengthy injury list, the inclusion of Van Persie - scorer of 38 goals in 59 Premier League appearances for the club - is a lift.
"Robin is ready to play, so that is a big benefit for our team," Van Gaal said on Friday.
"I'm very happy that he is now able to play.
"Last week, we had nine injuries and now we have seven. It's much too much. I have had this as a manager for the first time. We have to live with this.
"We have four injured midfielders - [Michael] Carrick, from the beginning, but now also Herrera, Fellaini and Lingard, we are thin on midfielders now.
Van Gaal also pleaded with the club's supporters to give him time to reverse their fortunes, adding: "Two weeks ago I was the king of Manchester. Now I am the devil of Manchester.
"I was not hired to be fired, but to build up a team and that is a process that needs time."
Danny Welbeck, Antonio Valencia and Jonny Evans could also make returns - although Van Gaal's latest signing, Marcos Rojo, is ineligible - for a United side that has already lost to Sunderland twice in 2014.
First came a League Cup semi-final, which Sunderland won on penalties, before Ryan Giggs' second game as United's interim manager - as replacement for David Moyes - finished in a 1-0 home defeat.
That result was one of many surprise wins gained by Sunderland in the latter stages of last term as they avoided relegation against the odds.
Sunderland started this season with a 2-2 draw at West Brom last week, with Sebastian Larsson - scorer of the only goal at Old Trafford in May - netting an 85th-minute equaliser for Gus Poyet's side.
Despite a good recent record against United, it is 17 years since Sunderland, who will miss Emanuele Giaccherini (groin), beat them at home in a Premier League match.
|3||P. van Aanholt|
|Coach: G. Poyet|
for J. Rodwell 63'
for S. Fletcher 77'
for W. Buckley 79'
|Burton and Day depart West Brom|
|Mendilibar makes Eibar return|
|Milan agree to terminate Muntari contract|
|Copa final a dream come true for Sampaoli|
|CSKA Sofia demoted due to financial crisis|
|Wolfsburg warn off De Bruyne suitors|
|Kone: I want to prove I can cut it at Everton|
|West Ham v Lusitans: Bilic set for first game in charge|
|Millennium Stadium to host 2017 UEFA Champions League final|
|Ronaldo a ´possibility´ for Portugal´s Olympics squad|
|Liverpool should get rid of Sterling - Grobbelaar|
|Miranda arrives for Inter medical|
|Arsenal can challenge the best - Cech|
|Real star Bale can be better than Ronaldo, says Keegan|
|UEFA approves changes to FFP rules|
|Honduras v Mexico: Moreno´s injury may force Mexican rethink pre-Gold Cup|
|Hiddink was the wrong man for Netherlands - De Boer|
|Vargas: I was scoring with every shot at training|
|Zambrano red rocked Peru - Gareca|
|Paraguay to change tack against Argentina|
|Sampaoli thrilled with substitutes´ influence, applauds Peru|
|Martino rues Copa America date with former side Paraguay|
|Former Birmingham City player Thwaites among Tunisia victims|
|Chile 2 Peru 1: Zambrano´s red card helps hosts into Copa final|
|Thiago Silva: ´I didn´t even know the ball had hit my hand´|
|Ronaldinho set to sign for Antalyaspor|
|Jara ban reduced on appeal by one match|
|Hiddink leaves Netherlands post|
|Cresswell pens new five-year deal at West Ham|
|Koeman: No serious United bid for Schneiderlin|
|Barbados eliminated from World Cup qualifying after fielding ineligible player|
|Former Catania president admits buying matches|
|Jones agrees Manchester United deal|
|Argentina v Paraguay: Valdez hoping not to need another comeback|
|Milan seal Bertolacci signing|
|Cech grateful to Abramovich and Chelsea fans|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Brotherly pride at stake as B36 play TNS|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Tommasi set to aid La Fiorita qualifying bid|
|Cech leaves Chelsea to join Arsenal|
|Paulinho ends Spurs frustration with Guangzhou move|
|Sampdoria confirm Eto´o exit amid Antalyaspor talk|
|Garcia departs Espanyol ahead of expected Qatar move|
|Watford to delay Doyley decision|
|Schlupp agrees new Leicester deal|
|Schweinsteiger hints at Bayern stay amid United links|
|Bertolacci thrilled ahead of Milan move|
|Langerak leaves Dortmund for Stuttgart|
|Muniain extends Athletic contract|
|Youngsters to get chance on US tour - Van Gaal|
|La Liga chief hits out at Real Madrid over TV rights opposition|
|Villa confirm Wilkins as assistant manager|
|Dicks joins West Ham coaching staff|
|Heldt enters to jeers, exits to cheers|
|Paraguay pride has grown at Copa America - Aguilar|
|Van Gaal tight-lipped on De Gea|
|Bacca confirms Milan agreement|
|Weight of expectation on hosts Chile to benefit Peru - Gareca|
|MLS Review: Timbers thump Sounders thanks to Adi´s double|
|Dzeko ´would run to Roma´ - Pjanic|
|Peru won´t sit back - Sampaoli|
|Zenga: Cassano, Balotelli will not be joining Sampdoria|
|Victory to start A-League defence away to Adelaide|
|I want to play MLS ´at the peak of my career´ - Johannsson|
|Allegri: I like Isco and Oscar|
|CAF Champions League Review: Comeback kings Smouha go top of Group A|
|Pirlo in attendance for New York derby|
|No Bayern deal yet, states Costa|
|Jara handed three-game ban|
|Sunderland striker Defoe sets 20-goal target|
|Leicester offer condolences to Albrighton and family after Tunisia attack|
|Chile v Peru: Potential Jara sanction hangs over semi-final|
|Sweden U21 v Portugal U21: History beckons for Jorge´s men|
|Neville appointed Valencia number two|
|Work halted at Olympic Stadium after fatality|
|Ibrahimovic in the same league as Messi - Sacchi|
|Giggs: United want to add winners|
|Turan sets record straight over transfer talk|
|Low keen for new Germany leaders to emerge|
|Tunisia part company with Leekens|
|Evans: Sterling´s Anfield exit must be a done deal|
|FIFA audit chief urges Blatter to stick by decision|
|Hrubesch urges caution after Germany U21s humbled|
|Taarabt hits out at ´very bad manager´ Redknapp|
|Bruce: I´m lucky I wasn´t sacked after Hull relegation|
|Van Hooijdonk warns Van Gaal over Depay tactics|
|SPFL looking into winter break|
|MLS Review: Earthquakes win California Clasico, Vancouver claim top spot in West|
|Muto must toughen up to succeed at Mainz - Ficcadenti|
|Diaz: Paraguay refuse to lose|
|Tragedy strikes for Paraguay match-winner Gonzalez|
|Robinho rues substitution, wanted to take penalty|
|Dunga: Brazil squad hit by virus|
|Fiorentina make ´insane offer´ to Salah|
|Women´s World Cup Review: England reach maiden semi-final|
|Mexico 2 Costa Rica 2: Herrera´s men recover after half-time|
|ES Setif 1 USM Alger 2: African champions beaten|
|Paraguay 1 Brazil 1 (4-3 on penalties): History repeats as Dunga´s men bow out|