Neville hopes Man Utd reserve team outing is key to featuring in title run-in
30 March 2009 04:19
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Having a ball: but Neville has struggled for playing time this season
Gary Neville takes his next step towards full fitness on Monday when he plays for Manchester United's second string in their reserve team clash with Newcastle at St James' Park.
Neville has endured an injury-plagued two years, which started with a broken ankle suffered against Bolton in March 2007.
The England defender thought he had put his problems behind him when he forced his way back into the United line-up earlier this season, making 22 appearances.
However, a groin injury kept Neville out for another couple of months and he only returned to duty a week ago when he was named on the bench by Sir Alex Ferguson for the ill-fated trip to Fulham.
After missing out on last season's Premier League and Champions League triumphs, Neville is keen to play a part in this season's run-in.
If he comes through unscathed, the full-back could come into contention for Sunday's encounter with Aston Villa or the Champions League showdown with Porto 48 hours later as Wes Brown and Rafael da Silva are both injured and John O'Shea's recent performances have come in for heavy criticism.