Neville steps up return to action

Manchester United defender Gary Neville will step up his return to fitness by playing in a reserve match this week.

Neville has been out of action since March with calf and ankle problems and a series of setbacks have kept him on the sidelines this season.

But he resumed training late last month and Sir Alex Ferguson believes the England star is ready to take the next step in his recovery by playing in Thursday's reserve match against Liverpool.

"We are hoping to use Gary against Liverpool reserves this week. That's the plan," Ferguson said. "He is getting better and he is improving all the time.

"He's over his last injury and he has been training now for over two weeks and he is at a good level.

"Because he has been out for so long, he needs games now and hopefully he can start on Thursday. It will be a good introduction for him game-wise."