Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson knows he will have to utilise the full depth of his squad as the fixture list picks up over the festive period.
From Sunday, when United go to QPR, the team play five matches in 18 days prior to their high-profile FA Cup third-round encounter at Manchester City. And as Ferguson is without the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Javier Hernandez, Michael Owen, Tom Cleverley, Anderson, Rafael and Fabio there are a number of fringe players who will be utilised.
Ferguson told Inside United: "December is a particularly busy month when we often play eight or nine games. We've got a Boxing Day game, a New Year's Eve game... it's going to be a hectic spell and that's when the squad really kicks in."
In spite of his long injury list Ferguson last week played down the possibility of making new signings when the January transfer window opens.
However, former midfielder Nicky Butt believes if there are improvements to be made the Old Trafford boss should make them.
He said: "Every team can improve, no matter who they are. Even Barcelona can improve so I'm sure Sir Alex will sign players, whether it be in midfield, defence or up front. He's always looking to enhance his squad."
Butt also thinks United will benefit from having a settled partnership in midfield.
"I think it's difficult to pick the four starting across the midfield," Butt told manutd.com.
"In years gone by, everyone knew who the strongest four or five was. It's different now but we've still got some good players. I think Sir Alex will be looking to try and get a steady pairing in the centre.
"He's had injuries to Darren Fletcher, Cleverley and Anderson so it's been difficult to get a regular line-up in midfield. It helps when you can get everyone on a roll and playing well together."