United have two games in hand on most teams in the division – one against relegation-threatened Sheffield United on Thursday night and another against Burnley.
Should they beat Chris Wilder’s rock bottom side, Manchester United would move one point outside the Champions League spots with a game in hand.
Win their game in hand – which is yet to be rescheduled from the start of the season – and they would move above Tottenham Hotspur into second place and two points behind leaders Liverpool.
It would be an astonishing climb for a side whose struggles have been well documented this season but former striker Andy Cole still thinks any title bid is unlikely.
‘Manchester United are definitely not contenders for winning the Premier League this season,’ he told The Target Man Podcast.
‘I still think the club are a few years away from realistically competing to win the Premier League. I think the priority for Manchester United at the moment is to qualify for the Champions League and to hope to have a good cup run in a domestic competition.
‘The pressure really is on for Manchester United to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League on a consistent basis again, which is maybe hard to say after the years of success with Sir Alex Ferguson.
‘The best players want to play in the Champions League and without that consistency, there’s not enough clarity to build a squad signing the best players and keeping the best players.
‘It’s been one step forwards and two steps back in recent years.’