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.
The Norwegian striker was set to start for Villa and the torn calf muscle will be a bitter blow for the club but perhaps more so for the player. Carew has struggled to find his feet, particularly his goal-scoring ones this season and was all set to benefit for an extended run in the team due to Heskey’s withdrawal. The 6’4” front man is now likely to have to work his way back into Houllier’s plans upon his recovery with Agbonlahor and possibly Heskey expected back in the next few weeks. It has now been confirmed that Delfouneso will be Villa’s starting forward, most likely to be supported by Ashley Young in the free role. The Villa manager was left rueing his luck in the loss of several first team stars in the last month.
“Having Heskey out is a big blow because in the six games he played, he scored three goals and created some chances as well. His work rate was phenomenal. But the other blow is that John Carew won’t be playing because he picked up an injury yesterday in training.”
“He had a scan this morning and there is a slight tear of his calf which will rule him out for a minimum of three weeks, maybe four weeks. Gabby is still in the recovery period although for the first time today he took part in training, in the ball work.”
“Emile had the operation last night and it was successful but he will maybe need another three or four weeks. It is an ideal opportunity for the young Nathan to step up. He will definitely be the main striker.”
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