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Meyler back for Black Cats

IRISH midfielder David Meyler took a big step towards his return to first team action with Sunderland when he lined out for their reserves last night.

Meyler has been out since January with a knee injury, but he managed 45 minutes for the reserves against Gateshead last night and, while boss Steve Bruce has promised not to rush the former Cork City man back into the first team, Meyler hopes to be back as soon as possible.

Houston fires Bray

A HAT-TRICK from Sean Houston sent Bray Wanderers on their way to an impressive 4-0 Premier Division win over UCD at the Carlisle Grounds.

The 21-year-old Donegal man scored the 'perfect' hat-trick as he scored one goal with his right foot, another with his left and the third with his head.

Houston opened the scoring within eight minutes and doubled Bray's tally within three minutes of the restart.

Houston grabbed his third in the 58th minute, controlling Dempsey's pass with his right foot before he curled it into the net with his left. Jake Kelly's 68th-minute goal ensured a comfortable win for the Seasiders.

Keane counts Costa

ROBBIE KEANE'S first trip to central America ended in defeat as LA Galaxy were beaten 1-0 in Costa Rica last night.

Keane's side are now struggling to come out of their group in the CONCACAF Champions League following that 1-0 loss to Alajuelense in Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, Aiden McGeady will play no further part in the Russian Cup after Spartak Moscow were knocked out last night, beaten 6-5 on penalties by lower-league side Volga Nizhegorod.

Burke on up at Villa

DUBLIN-BORN teenager Graham Burke is on a high this week after making good progress with Aston Villa.

Burke scored for Villa's reserves last night as they beat Bolton 3-2, that game coming just 24 hours after Burke was included on the bench by Alex McLeish for the first team in their League Cup clash with Bolton.

"Young Burke looks a star of the future -- he is a real talent.

"He looks like he has a great chance," Villa boss McLeish has said.

Scannell seals deal

CHAMPIONSHIP side Crystal Palace have rewarded Ireland U21 cap Sean Scannell with a new contract. The forward has scored three goals in eight games for Palace this season and that has prompted manager Dougie Freedman to sign him up to a new deal, which keeps him at the club until 2015.