Filed under: Injury News, Match Reports, Quoted, Transfer News
Very little news on the transfer front at Villa Park ahead of the club’s trip to Hong Kong this weekend suggests that move for N’Zogbia may well be in the balance due to the prolonged nature of the proceedings. Either way, Villa striker Darren Bent, who hit the ground running in the clubs opening friendly with Walsall last night, claims that the Frenchman would be a great signing, for the benefit of both himself and the club. Read more
Villa centre-back Carlos Cuellar was left out of Sunday’s final day victory over Liverpool after undergoing a knee operation in London which is likely to keep the Spaniard out for up to three months and potentially the start of next season. Read more
The club have announced this evening that James Collins has failed a fitness test on a calf injury and has not traveled with the squad to face Bolton. Luke Young is fit but hasn’t played since December through injury but he may have to be rushed back. The third central defensive absentee joins Cuellar and Dunne so could this mean that Stephen Warnock or Habib Beye must at least feature in the squad? One would hope so with the preference definitely being Warnock in my opinion. If Young is deemed not ready by Houllier and Warnock and Beye continue to be overlooked, the Villa back line may well consist of Kyle Walker (20), Ciaran Clark (21), Nathan Baker (19) and centre midfielder Fabian Delph (21). As Alan Hansen famously said ‘you won’t win anything with kids’ but can Villa’s youngsters topple Bolton away tomorrow?
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Aston Villa right back Luke Young has been out of action since early December having failing to shake off a long-standing knee problem which has proven worse than first feared. The knee issue is not the only injury that the 31-year-old has attained this season after incurring hip and ankle injuries earlier in the season. The full-back’s lack of fitness led Gerard Houllier to enter the market and bring in right-back Kyle Walker on loan with Young facing a real challenge to win back his first team place from the young defender upon his recovery after a decent start to the season after a torrid time in the last campaign. Villa’s manager has confirmed that the club and Luke have sought further medical advice, stating: “Luke saw a specialist yesterday [Wednesday] in London, so it will depend what the results are. He does training and he doesn’t feel anything and then at training the following day he feels something. Obviously we need to sort it out. I played him regularly every game until the Liverpool game and then after that he got injured and never came back.”
On a more positive note Stewart Downing looks set to be on schedule to recover from a shin injury which saw him taken off against Manchester United last time out. The winger remains as the only outfield player to have started every league game and should be fit to face Fulham on the weekend with his manager playing down the issue, “Stewart should be okay for Fulham. It was just a kick on the side of his shin.” The match could also see a debut for new loan signing Michael Bradley, providing the American can tie up the paperwork regarding a work permit in time.
Villa striker Emile Heskey is set to recover from a knee injury which has kept him out for over a month, just in time to face Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. The 32-year-old had recaptured some form when reunited with former boss Gerard Houllier but a decent run of 3 goals in 6 (unheard of for Heskey!) was cut short by an injury picked up in one of the new manager’s double training sessions at the end of October. The forward needed surgery on the knee but proceedings went well and the ex-England international should be in for a timely return to face Di Matteo’s side. Nigel Reo-Coker had his first training session with the senior side yesterday but Houllier revealed he is unlikely to feature at the weekend and captain Stiliyan Petrov should return to training within the next few weeks. Speaking about the progress of Heskey, Houllier was full of praise of the big man stating:
“Emile will definitely be involved on Saturday. It’s down to other people to analyse the minutes we’ve played with Emile, the goals he’s scored and made. But you would see the difference, he works hard for the team and we’ve missed him.”
With regards to the impending return of Petrov and Reo-Coker, he said:
“Petrov is ahead of schedule and in two weeks he should be back in training.
“Reo-Coker had his first full training session with us on Wednesday. I’d be surprised if he is in contention (for Saturday).”
Barry Bannan is the latest player to join the Villa Park injury list. The young midfielder limped off in the 2-1 defeat to Birmingham in midweek with a groin injury and is unlikely to recover in time for the trip to Anfield on Monday night. Gerard Houllier was erring on the side of caution as he didn’t want to aggravate the problem which would only deplete his squad further. Speaking in a press conference on Friday, Houllier stated:
“I don’t think Barry will be able to play. I’ve got my doubts because it is a groin strain which he picked up against Birmingham.”
Yesterday I sang the praises of young striker Nathan Delfouneso to stake a claim for a place in Houllier’s plans for tomorrow, now the Frenchman has no choice. With Gabby Agbonlahor still recovering from groin surgery, the striker did take part in ball work for the first time today, and Emile Heskey revealed to be out for a month after injuring knee ligaments on Wednesday, John Carew now joins the ever growing injury list at Villa Park. Carew has suffered a calf injury that is likely to keep him out for at least three weeks to a month, similar to Heskey. The injury crisis has paved the way for 19-year-old Delfouneso to prove his worth on the big stage after 2 years of cameo appearances. How John Carew picked up the problem is unknown but many Villa fans are now starting to doubt the manager’s strenuous training regime after Luke Young and Heskey have both recently sustained injuries. More on Injury Crisis
Aston Villa front man Emile Heskey could be out for up to a month after sustaining a knee injury in training on Wednesday. The news comes on the back of the revelation that captain Stiliyan Petrov is likely to miss out for at least three months with the ligament damage he picked up in the 1-0 defeat to Sunderland. Heskey has been in good form under Houllier, having worked with him at Liverpool, scoring 3 in his last 6 appearances with two of those coming from the bench. The injury leaves John Carew and Nathan Delfouneso as the only fit first team strikers with Gabby Agbonlahor’s groin injury taking longer to heal than anticipated. With Carew lacking in confidence in the box and without a goal all season I think it should be time to give Delfouneso a chance after fine form with the reserves this season. More News on the Injury
Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier today confirmed the return of John Carew and Luke Young ahead of the Birmingham City game on Sunday. Carew was expected to return from the illness that kept him out of the midweek clash with Burnley but is likely to have to make do with a place on the bench after Emile Heskey impressed once again in the cup tie. Gabby Agbonlahor is still a couple of weeks away from a return though Luke Young should feature at the weekend. The news will come as a shock to many Villa fans after Houllier had played down reports of a return in the coming weeks. Whether Young is fit to start is unsure but if he does it would mean a return to the bench for Senegalese international Habib Beye and most likely Carlos Cuellar too. Houllier also revealed that local lad Marc Albrighton was distraught at being unavailable through suspension for derby day at Villa Park. The young winger was sent off for a professional foul in the Carling Cup after Villa had regained the lead in extra-time.
“John Carew seems to have recovered from his flu. We need everyone. Not having Gabby, it is good to have John and Emile.”
“Marc Albrighton is suspended. The boy is devastated – very downhearted. Luke Young should be involved.”
Villa captain, Stiliyan Petrov has been assured that he will not require an operation on the injury he sustained in last weekend’s defeat to Sunderland. The skipper retired hurt in the first half and it has since been revealed that the midfielder is suffering knee ligament damage. Nigel Reo-Coker has been entrusted with the armband in Petrov’s absence which could stretch over a number of months. Manager Gerard Houllier confirmed yesterday that he hoped the Bulgarian would not need an operation on the injury and would prefer a natural recovery. Houllier exposed that this was indeed the case and Petrov would not need surgery on the knee though the duration of the injury is still expected to be as long as first feared. The manager stated that the 32-year-old will not be back in action until the New Year with an expected lay-off of around 8 to 12 weeks.