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Jones fitness boost for Man United ahead of derby

FOOTBALL By Reuters | December 9th 2017
St. George's Park, Burton Upon Trent, Britain - November 9, 2017 England’s Phil Jones during training Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Phil Jones is ready to return to Manchester United’s defence for this weekend’s crunch Premier League derby against Manchester City, manager Jose Mourinho said on Friday.

United have had to make do without Jones since he picked up a thigh injury playing for England against Germany last month.

They have hardly missed him in that period, winning all four league games to stay second, eight points behind City, in the Premier League standings - their only loss since Jones was injured coming away to Basel in the Champions League.

Mourinho is still without Eric Bailly while Marouane Fellaini, likely to replace record-signing Paul Pogba who is suspended after being sent off against Arsenal, will be assessed on Saturday, the Portuguese coach said.

“Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) is available, Jones is available, (Marouane) Fellaini I have to wait until tomorrow,” Mourinho said, adding that defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic is likely to play despite not being fully fit.

City have won their last 13 Premier League games but Mourinho says form can go out of the window in derbies.

“Football is unpredictable, you can try you can try, me as a manager I can try to define a gameplan, to work in a direction but football is unpredictable,” he said.

”We don’t know what can happen, there are so many things that are out of control that can totally transform the direction of the game.

“I wouldn’t risk saying what game we are going to have.”

United beat City last season at home in the League Cup but were beaten at Old Trafford in Mourinho’s first Manchester derby before drawing 0-0 at the Etihad Stadium later in the season.

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