By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Bastian Schweinsteiger has given Manchester United a boost by stepping up his comeback bid, Football Insider sources understand.

The German midfielder is in contention to return in the team’s FA Cup clash against West Ham on Sunday but a more realistic date is the second leg of the Europa League double-header against Liverpool next week.

A source close to the situation has told Football Insider that Schweinsteiger has increased his workload in training and is back working with the senior squad as he builds up his fitness.

This was later confirmed by manager Louis van Gaal at his media briefing on Wednesday morning, as he admitted the first leg of the Liverpool tie will come too early for the German.

The 31-year-old has been out with a knee injury he sustained in United’s FA Cup win over Sheffield United on 9 January.

Schweinsteiger was initially expected to return in the middle of January but the injury has proved to be worse than initially feared after it emerged that he had suffered ligament damage.

The Germany captain delivered an updated bulletin on his fitness in an interview at the end of February.

“I can start running in about five days and five days later I can train with the ball,” he told Bild newspaper. “I expect to be back in March. A ligament tear takes time but it is healing well and I know my body. Everything will be fine.”

The midfielder has already missed 13 matches with the injury but is confident it will not affect his participation in this summer’s European Championships.

In other Manchester United injury news, Wayne Rooney is confident of being back in action within a month.