Manchester United could face a triple-attacking blow when they meet Newcastle on Saturday as they wait to discover if they will be without Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa as well as Wayne Rooney.
Rooney is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the domestic season in Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to his former club Everton.
And manager David Moyes, who said that night that he did not know when Van Persie would return after a groin injury, was non-committal about the Dutchman’s fitness on Friday.
But he did reveal that Japan international Kagawa had been struggling with a virus and is a doubt.
He said: “Shinji had a sickness and he’s been unwell so I’ll need to see how he is tomorrow [Saturday]. He wasn’t too good later on after the [Everton] game.
“Like every other club in the Premier League we’ve got some injuries. They’re all making progress: some have got a chance, some don’t.”
Asked directly about Van Persie, who has missed United’s last four games, Moyes replied: “You can ask but I might not answer it.”
If Van Persie and Rooney, who have scored 15 of United’s 22 league goals between them, are both missing, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck will be the only strikers available to Moyes.
Defeat to Everton left United 12 points behind leaders Arsenal but Moyes believes some of the criticism of his side is unfair and believes they will produce the right response against Alan Pardew’s team.
He added: “People who watched the game would have got lots of belief from it. There were chances in the game we didn't take. It could quite easily have been very different.
"Unless you are someone who doesn't understand the game too much you would have seen that. These are good players. They have been here before. They know what is expected of them. They will do the right things.”