With top-flight football tentatively pencilled in for a restart in June, we begin a series of articles looking at players who could make an impact in Fantasy Premier League after recovering from injury.
We begin with an analysis of Marcus Rashford (£8.8m), who has been sidelined since January with a back problem.
Manchester United enjoy one of the best runs of fixtures in the season run-in and had been in decent form before the Premier League was suspended in March, having gone five games without defeat.
Rashford himself had been having an excellent 2019/20 and has already recorded his best-ever single-season totals for FPL attacking returns and points, despite being on the treatment table for much of this calendar year.
With Bruno Fernandes (£8.6m) recruited in the interim to help provide the ammunition, Rashford could be a decent differential forward option for the run-in.
Indeed, the United striker was the most-bought player of what would have been Gameweek 36.
What is Rashford’s Fitness Latest?
The first hints that something was up with Rashford’s fitness came in Gameweek 22, when he was withdrawn in the win over Norwich City as a “precaution”.
The forward’s back was said to be causing him some discomfort in that victory over the Canaries and the issue reared its head again a few days later.
Thrown on as a second-half substitute in the FA Cup third-round replay against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Rashford lasted only 16 minutes before succumbing to what later transpired was a double stress fracture of his spine.
After the player entered a period of rehabilitation and underwent surgery for a separate ankle issue, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had described Rashford’s chances of featuring again in 2019/20 as “touch and go“.
That statement from the Manchester United manager came before the coronavirus outbreak halted the season in mid-March, of course, so the England winger now looks poised to play some part in the Red Devils’ run-in.
United assistant coach Kieran McKenna said on April 23 that the club are “hopefully going to have a full squad of players to work with” when training resumes and Rashford has reportedly already been doing individual fitness work at Carrington during the lockdown.