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Remi Garde: A fit Gabby Agbonlahor could give Aston Villa a lift

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Aston Villa boss Remi Garde expects to Gabby Agbonlahor to stay at the club beyond Monday's transfer deadline.

The long-serving striker has been linked with a move this month, but is in contention to face Manchester City on Saturday.

He has suffered with calf and back problems since Garde arrived in November, yet could return to the squad for the FA Cup fourth-round clash at Villa Park.

Turkish side Kayserispor have been linked with Agbonlahor, but Garde is planning for him to stay.

"I think so," said the Frenchman, when asked if the forward would still be at the club next week.

"When I arrived Gabby was injured and was not in the training sessions for a long time. The time I spent discovering the team and players he was not here. He has trained for the last week and seems to be better.

"If he's in the right mood and okay physically he could give us a lift with goals.

"Every player who's not playing is frustrated apart from 11 playing the game. You're a professional player, you want to start."

Agbonlahor, 29, signed a four-year deal in 2014 and is Villa's longest-serving current player, having made 360 appearances for the club, but has played just one minute under Garde.

Philippe Senderos has been allowed to leave by mutual consent this month as Garde continues to rebuild his squad.

The Villa boss is still trying to sign new players but has struggled with the team bottom of the Barclays Premier League and 10 points from safety.

Garde said: "Everybody is working on players. As you know, for many reasons it's difficult for us to sign players. I am still hoping I can have more.

"I will be very happy on Monday to speak about new players."

Garde remains without Alan Hutton and Carlos Sanchez (both hamstring) while Jordan Amavi is out for the season with a knee injury and Adama Traore is not expected back for at least a month with a broken foot.

Meanwhile, Manuel Pellegrini has reinforced his view that Manchester City have more to complain about than Everton as the controversy over their Capital One Cup semi-final rumbles on.

The City boss also claims his side could have won the tie even if Kevin De Bruyne's contentious strike in Wednesday's second leg at the Etihad Stadium had been disallowed.

City progressed with a 4-3 aggregate win after recovering from 3-1 down with the aid of De Bruyne's disputed goal, which was allowed to stand despite Raheem Sterling running the ball out of play.

Everton railed at the injustice afterwards with manager Roberto Martinez describing the defeat as "hurtful and unfair" but Pellegrini felt City had been on the wrong end of more bad decisions over the two games.

Pellegrini said: "First of all, I think the ball was just one centimetre over the line but it was very difficult for the linesman to see with the two posts, and the position of the referee cannot allow him to see if the ball is completely out or not.

"That was less of a mistake than the two penalties when he didn't whistle against Everton in the Premier League and in the first leg at Goodison Park.

"Their first goal was also offside so Everton cannot complain about one refereeing decision that was a mistake. We have more complaints but we never talk, that's the difference.

"If that goal was not allowed because the ball was out we had another 15 minutes. We had two shots on the post, we had a lot of options and absolutely dominated the game.

"Everton had just one shot in the second half so I don't think we are in the final because of that refereeing decision. We had more damage from the referee than Everton.

"We had 16 or 18 shots against three from Everton. I'm sure if we weren't already winning 2-1 we could score the second goal without any problem."

The big downside from the game from City's point of view was the loss of De Bruyne, who also set up Aguero's goal, late in the game with ankle and knee damage.

Pellegrini said: "He will not be out for the whole season because it's not a cruciate ligament but we knew it was important damage. We hope he can return before, but the first diagnosis is that he will be out for eight to 10 weeks."

City's victory over Everton kept them alive in four competitions but Pellegrini claims winning the quadruple remains unlikely. His immediate concern is Saturday's FA Cup trip to Villa.

He said: "It's not a target that we have in mind at the moment because it is not a realistic target. We have to play against Aston Villa tomorrow. If we fail tomorrow, we finish talking about that."

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