Manchester United v Derby preview: Romelu Lukaku available
Last Updated: 05/01/18 7:04pm
Manchester United kick off their FA Cup campaign with a third-round tie at home to Sky Bet Championship side Derby County on Friday (8pm).
Given United have been knocked out of the EFL Cup and are 15 points behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race, Jose Mourinho will be keen targeting the FA to add some silverware.
However, Mourinho has won the competition just once - with Chelsea in 2007.
Derby boss Gary Rowett sees his side's trip to Manchester United as the ideal yardstick for their Premier League aspirations.
"It's a great challenge for the players - one we are going to learn an awful lot from about the players and whether they can step up and take the responsibility in a game of that magnitude," Rowett told the club's official website.
"It's a great tool to see which of our players can handle it. We're aspiring to play against teams like Manchester United every week so if we go fearful and show we can't handle that type of game then that's a bit of a worry when it comes to what we are trying to achieve this season."
Goalkeeper Sergio Romero will start for Manchester United against Derby, while Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini are available for Friday's FA Cup third-round clash at Old Trafford.
Lukaku could feature six days after coming off on a stretcher against Southampton following a clash of heads, with midfielder Fellaini set to return having been out since November.
Michael Carrick is back training but will not be considered and Antonio Valencia is still at least a week away, so they will remain on the sidelines along with the suspended Ashley Young and injured Eric Bailly.
Former United forward Tom Lawrence (hip) and midfielder Joe Ledley (back) are injury concerns for Derby while Rowett is also monitoring the fitness of Bradley Johnson following his recent back problem.
This will be the 10th time these two sides have been drawn together in the FA Cup, meeting as recently as January 2016 - with Man Utd winning 3-1 at Pride Park in the fourth round.
United have won each of the last seven FA Cup games against Derby, including two semi-final wins in 1948 and 1976.
Manchester United haven't lost to two different sides from outside the top flight in a single season since 1983/84, when they lost to Oxford United and Bournemouth; United lost 2-1 to Bristol City in the League Cup quarter-final this season.
United have lost just one of their last 35 FA Cup games against lower league opponents at Old Trafford (W28 D6) - losing 0-1 to Leeds United back in January 2010.
The Rams have only progressed past an opponent from a higher division in one of their last 15 FA Cup ties - beating West Brom at the Hawthorns at this stage last season.
Charlie Nicholas' prediction
These are two clubs in similar positions in their respective leagues with very different levels of interest in this competition. Jose Mourinho's hunger for trophies is irrepressible and he knows if he lands a couple more then nobody can have a go at him.
Derby might not want to lose momentum by getting a thumping here but promotion is the solitary objective for them this season and they'll be more interested in next weekend's trip to Birmingham.
Charlie predicts: 2-0 (4/1 with Sky Bet)