Wayne Rooney will miss Manchester United's final home game of the season against Hull City on Tuesday after being ruled out with a groin injury. Rooney was sidelined for Saturday's 1-0 loss to Sunderland due to a combination of the groin problem and a stomach bug.
It was initially believed the England forward would be fit for United's Old Trafford finale, but interim manager Ryan Giggs revealed on Monday that the 28-year-old has still not recovered. "Wayne is probably struggling for the game. He's not quite recovered. We'll continue to monitor him," Giggs told MUTV.
Reports last week claimed Rooney was confident his fitness problems would not affect his chances of being ready to shine at the World Cup. England manager Roy Hodgson is due to announce his squad next week for the tournament in Brazil.
Rooney's absence for the Hull game means Dutch striker Robin van Persie could make his first start in seven weeks as he has now fully recovered from a knee injury.
Tuesday will be the final home match of Giggs' temporary reign, with Holland coach Louis van Gaal expected to be appointed as David Moyes' permanent successor in the coming days.
Although United have little to play for, the match provides Giggs and his players with a final opportunity to make amends for a miserable run of results at Old Trafford.
The shock defeat to Sunderland was United's seventh league loss on their own patch in what has been a dismal year. Nemanja Vidic will play his final game at Old Trafford ahead of his move to Inter Milan, while there could also be farewell appearances for Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, who are both out of contract at the end of the season.
And it may well be the last time United fans get a glimpse of Giggs for a while as he has not been assured that he will figure in van Gaal's plans - either as a player or coach.
Giggs, who is still registered as a player, did not rule out naming himself in the match-day squad against Hull. "Of course, the perfect scenario is me coming on and scoring a goal, the winning goal, and hopefully everyone will be happy but it doesn't always work like that. We'll have to wait and see what happens on the night," Giggs said.
Giggs added that Rafael da Silva could feature against Hull, but Jonny Evans is out for the rest of the season with an unspecified injury. There will also be plenty of eyes trained on the United directors box after suggestions van Gaal could attend the fixture.
Holland's World Cup preparations begin on Wednesday when the Eredivisie-based players in van Gaal's squad meet for their first training camp in Hoenderloo.
The fact that the Holland squad does not meet up until after the United game has led some newspapers to speculation van Gaal may appear at Old Trafford, ostensibly to check on the fitness of van Persie.
Meanwhile, former United captain Bryan Robson has urged van Gaal to keep Giggs and his fellow 'Class of 92' colleagues Phil Neville, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes on the coaching staff if he does take charge. "I think it would be very disappointing for those lads not to be kept on, in whatever role, as they are part of Manchester United," Robson said.
"The fans would be very disappointed if they don't have a future in the club."