Football

Match Preview: Manchester United v Stoke City

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Manchester United winger Ashley Young returns to the squad after recovering from a knee injury.

The England international has missed two months with the complaint, but returns for the visit of Tony Pulis's Stoke City side.

But defender Chris Smalling and Nemanja Vidic will miss out. Smalling has stepped up his recovery and has begun training with the United squad, but is not ready to return just yet after breaking a bone in his foot during pre-season.

For Stoke, former-Manchester United forward Michael Owen is struggling to recover from a groin strain, and is only likely to be fit enough for a place on the substitutes bench.

Potters defender Andy Wilkinson is available for selection after serving his suspension, but Ireland international Glenn Whelan faces a late fitness test on a hamstring complaint.

'We must be strong'

Manchester United winger Nani has called for a "strong" performance from his side when Stoke City visit Old Trafford. The Portuguese winger, like many of his teammates, is returning from international duty, but Nani will be looking to put the disappointing 1-1 draw against Northern Ireland behind him.

And the visit of Tony Pulis's Stoke City team offers Nani and United an excellent opportunity to keep up the pressure on league leaders Chelsea, although the United playmaker recognises Stoke possess a serious threat.

"It is always hard to play against Stoke because they play a different kind of football to most teams in the Premier League," said Nani on manutd.com.

"They are very physical and have very strong players. It is also difficult because most of the game is in the air. We need to be strong and try to play our game. We are playing at home and we have to believe we can win the three points."

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Topics:
Chris Smalling
Stoke City
Football
Michael Owen
Premier League
Andy Wilkinson
Manchester United
Nemanja Vidic
Ashley Young
Glenn Whelan

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