Eric Bailly is battling to be fit for Manchester United’s clash with Everton at Old Trafford at the end of a difficult few weeks in which he was hurt in a car accident close to the club’s training ground.
Bailly was a passenger in a car that skidded on ice and collided with a tree stump on a back road out of Carrington before last week’s shock defeat against Sheffield United.
The Ivory Coast defender had a large plaster over an injury to his shin and missed the game, but returned on the bench for the last two matches against Arsenal and Southampton.
However, Bailly has suffered a fresh injury in training and will have a fitness test on Saturday morning to see if he can face Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton.
The 26-year-old had been in top form after missing two months at the end of last year, but was forced off with a neck injury in the FA Cup win over Watford a month ago after colliding with team-mate Dean Henderson.
Sportsmail understands that Bailly was also unhappy to be left out of the league and Cup games against Liverpool after manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted to play Victor Lindelof alongside Harry Maguire in central defence.
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However, the United boss warned on Friday that no one in his squad is guaranteed a place in the starting line-up as United look to keep up the pressure on leaders Manchester City.
‘It’s a sign of a Man United player that takes on the challenge of competition because if you can’t deal with competition and you want to be successful you’re at the wrong place,’ said Solskjaer.
‘Nobody is guaranteed a place in the team like a season-ticket card here. You’ve got to perform to be part of the success of Man United. I’ve been part of it myself with strikers coming in and you’ve just got to take the challenge head on.
‘I’ve really enjoyed the response I’ve had from the players. We’ve signed players that we believe in but that’s also kicked some of the other players up the backside to perform and make sure they keep performing.’
Solskjaer insists United will not be over-confident after a record-equalling 9-0 win over Southampton in midweek as they prepare to face Everton on the 63rd anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster.
‘I don’t think anyone will get carried away with the scoreline because we played against 10 men for nearly the full game,’ he added.
‘We’ve not mentioned the game at all really, all the focus has been on Everton.’
United, who won the reverse fixture 3-1 at Goodison Park in November, have added defender Phil Jones and goalkeeper Sergio Romero to their Premier League squad for the second half of the season, although it is unlikely Romero will play for the club again.
Meanwhile, winger Shola Shoretire will sign one of the biggest professional contracts handed to a junior at United on Monday, a week after his 17th birthday.