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Romelu Lukaku behind schedule as Manchester United sweat on strikers fitness for FA Cup final

Romelu Lukaku behind schedule five days before FA Cup final vs Chelsea
Romelu Lukaku is losing his battle to be fit enough to start against Chelsea (Picture: Getty)

Manchester United face an anxious wait to discover if Romelu Lukaku will be fit for the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday with the club concerned by the Belgians slower-than-expected recovery from an ankle injury, Metro.co.uk can reveal.

Lukaku limped out of Uniteds 2-1 win against Arsenal in late April after taking a knock to his ankle and United had been confident that he would make a swift recovery after scans revealed there had been no ligament damage.

The striker opted to undergo his rehabilitation in Brussels and has been working with Belgiums medical department in a desperate bid to return in time for the game at Wembley.

Jose Mourinho ruled Lukaku out of the remainder of the Premier League season as a precautionary measure so the striker can focus on regaining his fitness but the forward is behind schedule in his recovery.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Arsenal - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - April 29, 2018 Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku after sustaining an injury REUTERS/Phil Noble EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Lukaku was forced off during the win against Arsenal in April (Picture: Reuters)

Metro.co.uk understands Lukaku only restarted jogging a few days ago and his rehabilitation programme has been strictly non-contact through fear of exasperating the problem.

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United initially expected Lukaku to return in time for the end of the Premier League season but the 25-year-old opted to stay an extra week in Belgium to continue his rehab.

The Belgian is expected back in Manchester on Tuesday when United will assess the striker and determine whether hes ready to re-join the squad for first-team training.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Arsenal - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - April 29, 2018 Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku walks off to be substituted after sustaining an injury Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Lukakus been out for over two weeks (Picture: Reuters)

Mourinho had remained coy on Lukakus injury until Thursday when he admitted for the first time after Uniteds 0-0 draw with West Ham that the striker may have to settle for a place on the bench against Chelsea.

He is in Belgium having his treatment in the communication between the doctors in Belgium and our medical department and we are just waiting to see if it is possible for him to be involved in the final, said Mourinho.

If not starting at least he can be on the bench.

More: Manchester United FC

Romelu Lukaku behind schedule five days before FA Cup final vs Chelsea
Rashford could start up front in Lukakus absence (Picture: Getty)

Mourinho started Alexis Sanchez up front against West Ham last week with one eye on the possibility that Lukaku may not be ready in time to face Chelsea.

Marcus Rashford started and scored against Watford on the final day of the Premier League season and the England international is likely to battle Sanchez for a central role in the absence of Lukaku.

Anthony Martial missed the game against the Hornets because of a knee injury and Mourinho admitted afterwards that the Frenchman is a doubt for the final.

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