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Man Utd captain Neville desperate to be fit for derby

Gary Neville is desperate to be fit for Manchester United's derby clash at Eastlands next Sunday.

He is recovering from a long-term ankle injury and is desperate to lead out United against Manchester City at Old Trafford next Sunday in their first appearance after the 50th anniversary on Wednesday of the Munich disaster.

"It means the world to me every time I go out on the football pitch," he says. "But on a day like this it would be an incredibly proud moment.

"It was an awfully tragic event, but the sense of feeling runs through the club - we owe them so much. The way they played the game, the way the team play now, comes from that era."

Neville is keen, he admits, to get one of the special retro shirts United will wear on the day.

"They will be numbered 1 to 16, no names, no sponsors," he says. "To wear one of those shirts would be so special. Everyone is desperate to play every single week but on that particular day they will be absolutely desperate to play."

Unlike many who fear local rivalry could spoil the day, Neville believes it to be a fitting fixture.

"There is a bit of fortune that it's happened but I think the city was affected greatly. It wasn't just Manchester United. It touched everyone in the country.

"I think it is good that it's a Manchester occasion. You couldn't have a bigger match and it's important that we do ourselves justice on the day and play in a way those lads would have been proud of."

Now Neville hopes that the club can follow the winning of their first European Cup 10 years after Munich and the second on the birthday of Sir Matt Busby nine years ago with another anniversary celebration.

"It's the pinnacle to win the European Cup," he says. "This year would be incredibly special. That would be the cherry on the icing on the cake."

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Tribal Football Staff

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