Cape Town - Manchester United star Paul Pogba will not be involved in the Europa League clash against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday night as he is not fit yet.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have secured their place in the round of 32 with a game to spare and will win Group L if they avoid defeat to the in-form Dutch visitors.
Thursday's Old Trafford encounter looked an opportune time to give minutes to Pogba, who has managed just six appearances since fuelling speculation about his future in the summer by admitting his openness to leave amid interest from Real Madrid.
Out since September due to an ankle injury, the World Cup winner returned to Manchester a fortnight ago after a period of rehabilitation in Miami, but AZ's visit comes too soon for the midfielder.
"No, it's too early (for Thursday). Yeah, we hope (that he will be back in 2019)," Solskjaer said.
"He's working hard to get fit so hopefully, we can get him back on the pitch."
Asked if it is an automatic decision to put Pogba back in the starting line-up given the way Scott McTominay and Fred have kicked on, the United boss said: "Let's get Paul fit first and then back in form and Paul will play loads of games.
"You know, for me, he's one of the best players in the world and we're looking forward to having him back."
Pogba looks set to be joined on the sidelines by Jesse Lingard, who missed training on the eve of the match having picked up a knock against City.
Kick-off is at 22:00 (SA time).
- TeamTalk Media