The former Blackburn man twisted awkwardly on his ankle in the win over Arsenal and was initially ruled out for a few weeks, but could yet make a sensational return this weekend
The young defender limped off inside 20 minutes of United’s 2-1 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, having twisted his ankle, leading boss Sir Alex Ferguson to forecast that he would be sidelined for several weeks.
Since then Jones is said to have made good progress and Phelan believes that the teenager may be ready for a swift return, telling reporters: "Phil’s character is very good.
“He is disappointed that, over the last few weeks, he seems to have limped around the football field quite a bit. But he usually manages to recover, so we’re optimistic he can do the same again.”
Jones is not United’s only injury worry heading into the clash.
Both Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher are ruled out for the season, while Tom Cleverley and Ashley Young have been absent since September and December, respectively.
Rio Ferdinand missed the clash with Arsenal after back complaints, while Nani, Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick have all been added to a long line of United injury doubts.
Phelan knows that, if United are to pull through the testing situation, they will need to use the vast amount of experience they have in the changing room.
“We are not in the greatest state that we possibly could be in ahead of in the next four or five games,” he admitted.