Manchester United travel to the Etihad Stadium without striker Radamel Falcao, revealed by Van Gaal to be injured ahead of the derby, but will start captain Rooney - who is back from a three-match suspension.
Reports also suggest Carrick could feature against Manuel Pellegrini's men, although Valencia may not yet be fit enough.
All three were in first team training on Friday, however, along with youngster Andreas Pereira, meaning they are at least a possibility for Sunday's game.
"He [Rooney] was never injured," Van Gaal told reporters at yesterday's pre-match press conference. "He shall play, he is my captain.
"He has scored a lot of goals against City, the most of any player. I am very happy that he can play, and he shall."
And the Dutchman - as ever - is not exactly short of confidence going into the huge Premier League clash:
"That is our goal, to win. It is possible, we are growing, we are developing ourselves," he added. "What we have seen of City in the last few matches was not so good. You never know.
"It's one of 38 matches, but for the fans it is unbelievably big as a rivalry. I have felt that with some of the players. When Ryan Giggs presented me with the analysis [of City], I felt more tension with him. That was good to see."
Good news for Man United fans, then? Here are the best pictures from training...