Ander Herrera Manchester United Marc Wilson Stoke City
Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera is set to miss the Boxing Day game against NewcastleReuters

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal revealed he does not expect any player to come back from injury for the Boxing Day English Premier League clash against Newcastle.

Van Gaal has had the likes of Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria make their return from injuries recently, but that nice trend of players coming back is not likely to carry forward to Boxing Day, with the likes of Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini still on the sidelines.

However, centre-back Chris Smalling could just about make it, after missing the last couple of Premier League games with a muscle injury.

"I don't think so, I am sorry," said Van Gaal when asked if he expects any players to return from injury. "Maybe Smalling. Fellaini is still not available.

"Smalling is a question mark -- I have to look [before the game], but it's always like that. For a few players it [this period] is fun because they are recovering quickly, but you also have players who are not recovering so quickly, so I have to rotate.

"My problem is I have a lot of injured players. That is the problem with these matches in the coming weeks."

Shaw has been out ever since suffering ankle ligament damage in the win over Arsenal, while Ander Herrera is yet to recover from a knock picked up just prior to the Villa match last weekend. Fellaini also missed the match against Aston Villa with illness, which he is yet to recover from.

While Manchester United have had to deal with plenty of injuries this season, it has eased a little for Van Gaal of late, with the manager delighted to have Falcao and Di Maria back in action.

Falcao showed his innate ability to score goals with a cracking header against Aston Villa last Saturday in a 1-1 draw, and Di Maria came on in the second half from the bench after returning from a slight hamstring tear.

While the attacking players options seem to be getting better and better for Van Gaal, the Manchester United manager will also hope to have his defenders, particularly the full-backs back in full flow, so that he can return to the back-four, rather than the back-three with the wing-backs he has opted for in the last couple of Premier League matches.

Van Gaal has played Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young as wing-backs, and even if the duo, both wingers by trade, have done pretty well in that position, Van Gaal would much rather have Shaw and Rafael back in the side fit and raring to go.

"Now I am more or less obliged to play with wing-backs because the real full-backs, Shaw and Rafael da Silva, were not fit enough and that is not good," said Van Gaal. "I have to select what I want but now I am forced to select.

"For a manager, that is not so good."

On a seven-match unbeaten run in the Premier League, Van Gaal will hope for more happy tidings when Newcastle visit Old Trafford.

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