Babb set to make his Sunderland debut against Amiens

PHIL BABB will make his Sunderland debut in France tonight when Peter Reid's players take a break from their pre-season training programme.

The 31-year-old defender, signed on a free transfer from Sporting Lisbon, will line up alongside Emerson Thome when the Black Cats take on Amiens in Le Touquet.

The game will be a welcome break for the players, who have been put through a three-times-a-day training schedule since jetting out to France last weekend. Jason McAteer and Kevin Kilbane, who have been given extra time to recover from their World Cup exertions, will return on Monday, while American skipper Claudio Reyna will be back on Wednesday.

Roy Keane will play in Ireland for the first time since his infamous bust-up with Mick McCarthy when he captains Manchester United in today’s pre-season friendly against Shelbourne at Tolka Park (2pm).

Republic of Ireland boss McCarthy’s decision to send Keane home from his party just before the World Cup for his outspoken criticisms split the country and the midfielder could receive a mixed reception in Dublin.

David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes will miss the trip across the Irish Sea because they have only just returned to pre-season training following the World Cup and Keane is likely to be partnered by Juan Sebastian Veron in midfield.

Diego Forlan is the only other World Cup player in the 17-man squad, which means that Northern Ireland international Roy Carroll will deputise for Fabien Barthez in goal.

Eircom League premier division champions Shelbourne should provide a decent work out for United at Tolka Park as their season has already started.

They have played two league games, while they are handily placed to reach the second Champions League qualifying round following their 2-2 draw away to Maltese side Hibernians in the first round first leg.

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