Neville ready to get United back on track

Defender will be fit to steady ship in 'huge game' against Aston Villa

Gary Neville has declared himself fit and ready to help Manchester United get back on the championship trail. Neville has missed 11 matches with a groin injury but returned to action in a reserve-team game at Newcastle on Monday. The 34-year-old is now in contention to face Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday, with Porto to follow in a Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford barely 48 hours later.

Neville is bound to be a bit rusty after so long out. But he is eager to help United get their campaign on track once more after successive defeats against Liverpool and Fulham prior to the international break.

"I have got the opportunity to be fit now and hopefully be available for Sunday, Tuesday and the other games we have coming up which are so vital for us," he said. "We need every player fit but obviously I have got to concentrate on myself and make sure I am ready."

United have seen a seven-point lead hacked down to one amid their mini slump, and with Liverpool in action before the Red Devils this weekend, Rafael Benitez's side could be top – having played two games more – before out-of-form Villa head to Old Trafford.

"It is a hugely important game for us," Neville said of the Villa game. "We know what we need to do and we need the crowd behind us. I don't think anyone will be underestimating the importance of the match. There are no more chances for us now. We need to start winning games and get back on a winning run."

Meanwhile, Villa's reserve goalkeeper Brad Guzan has vowed to increase the pressure on current number one Brad Friedel in the battle for a first-team spot.

Guzan took inspiration from his fellow American Friedel when he decided to try to make his mark in the Premier League. But that will not stop the 24-year-old, who signed from Chivas USA last summer, from trying to dislodge the ex-Blackburn player.

Guzan has already played for Villa in the Carling and Uefa Cups this season. He was in line to make his league debut at United on Sunday before Friedel's red card against Liverpool was rescinded by the Football Association.

Guzan said: "Seeing Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller come over here to England, be successful, and have such long careers inspired me to try and do the same. They were the first Americans to play in this country which was brilliant because the rest of the world never looks at Americans as footballers. What they have achieved is phenomenal.

"Brad has had a fantastic career and working with him can only be beneficial to me. But now I'm looking to play more games, to seize opportunities when they come along, and to keep moving forward."

Guzan added: "To play in the Uefa Cup was tremendous. There is a special buzz about European nights and to be part of that is something you never forget. I want to get better as a keeper and put Brad under pressure. I want to make it difficult for the manager week in and week out in terms of selection. If I can do that I will also be helping the team because it will make Brad better, myself better, and the team better."

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
News
people
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape