Rafael Da Silva is set for a return to first-team action when Manchester United face Sunderland at Old Trafford this weekend, after recovering from a shoulder injury.

The 21-year-old Brazilian full-back is yet to feature for the Red Devils in the Barclays Premier League this season, after undergoing surgery back in August.

But Sir Alex Ferguson has been handed a timely injury boost with the completion of Da Silva's rehabilitation, following an injury to fellow defender Chris Smalling - who has been ruled out for a month with a fractured foot.

Da Silva will likely be included in the reserve team line-up to face Everton on Thursday, to give him some much needed playing time ahead of a proposed return to first-team duty on Saturday when United host Steve Bruce's Black Cats.

"Rafael has been training for over a week," Ferguson confirmed. "It was a big operation on his shoulder and we hope we can maybe fit a game in for him maybe the next reserve game.

"He's coming along fine, there has been no setback and he has been training every day."

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