Neville facing battle for United place

1:04pm Friday 4th January 2008

Manchester United full-back Gary Neville has admitted he faces a major challenge to force his way back into Sir Alex Ferguson's first team.

Neville has not played for the Red Devils since March after breaking his ankle and suffering a string of setbacks in his bid to regain fitness.

"Obviously what's going against me is the fact I haven't played football for 10 months.

"And I think it could be difficult for me to get a match," he said.

The England defender has been back in full training recently but was not risked by Ferguson during a productive festive period which yielded nine points for the title chasers.

And with Wes Brown filling in capably in his absence, the 32-year-old is realistic enough to know that he could struggle to win back a regular starting place.

"It's hard to say how far away from a return I am, to be honest," he told the club's official website.

"The lads have some momentum going now, they've defended well and Wes has done extremely well at right-back.

"There aren't many opportunities for the manager to throw me into the side to ease me back in."

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