Sunderland skipper Jason McAteer will take his first steps on the comeback trail for the reserves at Manchester United tonight. The 32-year-old has not played since damaging a hamstring in the opening day defeat at Nottingham Forest and has been a frustrated bystander as his side has mounted an encouraging comeback in Division One.

He is included in Jocky Scott's side for the game at Altrincham tonight and will hope to stake his claim for a first-team return with Crystal Palace due at the Stadium of Light next Saturday.

McAteer is joined in the reserve squad by Phil Babb, Jeff Whitley and Michael Proctor, and could come up against former team-mate David Bellion, who has had to wait for his chance since his summer transfer to Old Trafford.