Man Utd handed defensive injury boost ahead of FA Cup semi-final

  • Man Utd centre-back had been an injury doubt for Coventry City clash
  • Six senior defenders are already set to miss the semi-final tie
  • Erik ten Hag has turned to teenagers to plug gaps in his squad
Erik ten Hag has struggled to name a consistent defence all season
Erik ten Hag has struggled to name a consistent defence all season / Catherine Ivill - AMA/GettyImages

Manchester United are set to have Harry Maguire available for Sunday's FA Cup semi-final against Coventry City following initial fears that an injury would make him a doubt.

Maguire fought through after being seen holding his thigh and conversing with medical staff during the first half of United's 2-2 Premier League draw with Bournemouth last Saturday evening.

The England defender was later not seen in any of the images that the club released of Tuesday's training session, leading to understandable concerns about his fitness. However, the Manchester Evening News has since clarified that Maguire was only absent as a precaution and should be fit.

Maguire has been the only available senior centre-back since Raphael Varane was forced out of the 4-3 defeat to Chelsea at the start of April with a muscle injury and has been partnered by 19-year-old academy graduate Willy Kambwala for the past two games against Liverpool and Bournemouth.

Harry Maguire, Willy Kambwala
Willy Kambwala has been thrust into the starting XI / James Baylis - AMA/GettyImages

The teenager started this season playing in Premier League 2 and the UEFA Youth League but has made nine first-team appearances since being fast-tracked into the senior squad.

United's lack of available defenders has seen 18-year-old Habeeb Ogunneye and 17-year-old Harry Amass also named on the bench in recent weeks. The youngsters are likely to keep their places in the matchday squad against Coventry at Wembley, with Varane, Victor Lindelof, Lisandro Martinez, Jonny Evans, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia all currently sidelined.

Erik ten Hag is hoping to take his United side to the FA Cup final for the second year in a row, having been narrowly beaten by neighbours Manchester City in last season's showpiece.

Even with a defensive injury crisis to contend with, the Red Devils will still be overwhelming favourites to progress against second tier opposition. Coventry look set to fall just short of a place in the Championship play-offs, having been absent from the Premier League since 2001, but pulled off a shock in the quarter-finals by scoring 97th and 100th-minute goals to beat top-flight Wolves.