Manchester United defender Phil Jones is pushing for a first-team return after featuring for the club’s Under-21s side on Monday.
The 23-year-old played 62 minutes as the United youngsters beat Southampton 1-0 at Leigh Sports Village.
Jones was an unused substitute in Saturday’s Barclays Premier League defeat to West Brom but was short of fitness after three weeks out with an ankle injury.
He now hopes to have put himself back in the frame to return to the side at Crystal Palace this weekend.
Jones told MUTV: “I’m happy to play in the Under-21s and get some fitness. I feel I’m ready to go again and hopefully I can make the squad on Saturday.”
The loss to West Brom means United still have work to do to secure a Champions League qualification spot, with fifth-placed Liverpool closing back to within four points.
Jones said: “We have got a long way to go as there are still three games coming up – three massive games – and we have got to approach it in the right way. I’m sure we can do that and cement that top-four finish.”