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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March 2008, 10:38 GMT
Neville edges closer to comeback
Gary Neville
Neville is back training with the first-team squad as he regains fitness
Manchester United captain Gary Neville made his longest competitive outing since being injured nearly a year ago in a reserve team match on Wednesday.

The full-back's 73 minutes in the 1-0 defeat by Sunderland marks his latest stride towards a first-team return.

Neville, 33, has been battling a succession of ankle and groin problems.

"It's great to be playing football again," Neville told MUTV. "That's my second game in a couple of weeks and I seem to have come through it okay."

Neville even had a chance to notch a rare goal but was thwarted from close range by Black Cats goalkeeper Marton Fulop.

"Playing with the reserves is really exciting for me. Just being out on the pitch and on the training ground, I love doing that," he said.

"Hopefully I've seen the back of it now. I just need to concentrate on training hard and playing well.


"It's been a frustrating period and a very long time - too long. No footballer likes not playing.

"I am not the first footballer to be out for 12 months. You just have to get on with it.

"By next week I'd like to be involved with the first team, even if it's just travelling with the side and being part of it again."

Neville, who has made over 500 appearances for United, suffered ankle ligament damage just 11 minutes into the match against Bolton at Old Trafford in March 2007.

Since then he has not played first-team football and has made a number of comebacks since, only to suffer further setbacks.

The defender has been training with the first-team squad for nearly a month.

Neville makes fresh comeback bid
27 Feb 08 |  Man Utd
Neville rejects retirement talk
11 Feb 08 |  Man Utd
Neville returns with rare strike
10 Jan 08 |  Man Utd
Neville suffers new injury blow
07 Dec 07 |  Man Utd
Neville close to Man Utd return
11 Sep 07 |  Man Utd
Neville's Man Utd return on hold
11 Oct 07 |  Man Utd


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