Sunderland boss Roy Keane has reassured forgotten midfielder Graham Kavanagh that he remains part of the Black Cats' long-term plans.
Kavanagh steps up his comeback for Sunderland's reserves on Wednesday night alongside fellow Irishman Ian Harte when they take on Manchester City, and is desperate to put on a good display in order to boost his first-team chances.
Keane told the club's official website : "Kav is part of my plans. The downside for him is that he is coming back from a long-term injury and that he plays in the middle of the park - one of our strongest positions.
"He has just fallen behind. When you have been out for that length of period, you do need games. He's played the last few reserve games and he's played very well. He'll be looking to get 90 minutes tonight.
"It will do Kav the world of good. We all know what a good player he is."