Manchester United could recall Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Bristol City
Jose Mourinho says Henrikh Mkhitaryan could return to the Manchester United team for the Carabao Cup tie with Bristol City on Wednesday.
United head to Ashton Gate looking to secure a place in the semifinals of the competition they won last season.
Mkhitaryan has not started a game since Nov. 5 and has been omitted entirely from eight of the last nine matchday squads, but the Armenia international could make his comeback against the Championship side.
"It's possible he is involved," Mourinho said. "At the moment we are playing [Juan] Mata, [Marcus] Rashford, [Jesse] Lingard or [Anthony] Martial, [Romelu] Lukaku so on the bench being Ibra [Zlatan Ibrahimovic] and one of the other ones, Martial or Rashford and there is no space for everyone because you need balance on the bench, too."
Bristol City are third in the Championship after a run of four straight wins.
They have already beaten Premier League sides Watford, Stoke and Crystal Palace to make it into the last eight of the Carabao Cup and Mourinho insists he will not take Lee Johnson's side lightly.
However, the United manager is set to make changes to his team with five games in 14 days to come over Christmas and the New Year.
Sergio Romero, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian, Scott McTominay and Axel Tuanzebe, as well as Mkhitaryan, could all be recalled.
Ibrahimovic is also in line to start for the first time since recovering from a knee injury.
Mourinho added: "I am making a few changes for the match, but not many because Bristol City is one of the best teams in the Championship and for me now the Championship is not the Championship of five or 10 years ago.
"The Championship is now high quality teams with lots of players that could be playing in the Premier League easily. So we need to take the game really seriously, but I am going to make a few changes."
The League Cup was the first piece of silverware Mourinho won as United manager after beating Southampton in the final in February.
Jesse Lingard was on the scoresheet at Wembley, and the 25-year-old insists United are committed to defending their trophy despite mounting challenges in the Premier League and Champions League this season.
He said: "I think it's a good cup to win, and obviously you can win it early in the season. It's another trophy in the cabinet so it's a great trophy to win so we're 100 percent ready.
"Cup games are always fun to play in. Anything can happen in those games. We're prepared whoever we are facing. It's going to be a tough test but we'll handle it."
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.