Needless to say, there isn't a better time for Luke Shaw, now back from an ankle injury, to assert himself on Jose Mourinho's starting XI.
And he hardly provided a ringing endorsement when asked about whether Shaw was ready. Tellingly, he was left out of the U23 squad which drew 2-2 with Chelsea on Monday night, a sign that Shaw is in Mourinho's plans for the cup fixture.
Mourinho will give David De Gea, Antonio Valencia, Nemanja Matic and Eric Bailly the night off as United begin their defence of the trophy against Nigel Clough's Championship side.
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Pressed on whether he is taking the game seriously, Mourinho said: "Oh yes, serious because it's football you know, it's football, it's competition, we take it seriously". His capacity to maintain the required level of performance over a long stretch of time will be what defines his United career from now on, and he will be desperate to make a positive start against the Championship side.
"Our squad is good". Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who have started all five of the club's Premier League games, have been included in the squad for the game on Wednesday (20 September).
"Our squad is good but we don't have 30 players, we have what we have and a couple of injuries now with [Paul] Pogba and [Axel] Tuanzebe, so we need some of the players that played against Everton to play and we need some to be on the bench, we need to have a strong team".
Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are also involved despite having played a part in each top-flight match this term. That's life in big clubs. "It's great for the chairman but we just want our players to experience playing there".