Jonny Evans is set to return to action for Manchester United on Tuesday night in a reserve team match against Blackburn Rovers.
Evans hasn’t appeared for the club since the 5-3 defeat to Leicester City back in September after damaging his ankle early on in the match. His injury wasn’t thought to be serious initially but the Northern Ireland international has now missed over two months of action, an epitome of the issues swamping Louis van Gaal this season.
At 26, Evans is remarkably the most experienced defender in the squad after the departures of experienced duo Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic and despite a whole range of injuries to every defender throughout the current campaign, there is no certainty that Evans will walk back into the first eleven.
With a busy Christmas period looming on the horizon, Evans’ return will be timely if he can return to full fitness, at one point the team will play four games in ten games between Christmas and the New Year period.
Phil Jones had been in good form before his injury issues arose this season and despite his sending off against Manchester City, Chris Smalling has impressed in recent outings against Arsenal and Chelsea.
Evans’ situation has been further complicated by the emergence of young defender Patrick McNair, his international colleague has won all four of the games he has started in this season and has looked assured whenever he has been called upon.
Tyler Blackett has been less impressive but has still seen plenty of first team action throughout the campaign so it is certainly not a given that the experienced defender will walk back into the first team, particularly given the errors he made in the early stages of the campaign, particularly in the League Cup humiliation against MK Dons.