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Albrighton suffers injury blow

Aston Villa winger Marc Albrighton is expected to spend between six and eight weeks on the sidelines with a broken metatarsal.

Albrighton, 22, sustained the injury after returning to pre-season training last month, and has been wearing a protective boot. He is not expected to return until late September or early October.

It is a blow for new Villa boss Paul Lambert, who has already lost Gabriel Agbonlahor and Richard Dunne to injury for the start of the season.

Agbonlahor is out for four to five weeks with a knee problem and Dunne for six to eight weeks with a groin problem.

Meanwhile, Stephen Ireland is tipping Gary Gardner, 20, to make a major impact in the Villa midfield.

"There are a few players coming through and Gary Gardner is one of those," Ireland told the Birmingham Mail. "They will keep getting experience and some of them are getting their chance ahead of schedule.

"A lot of them have ability and it is up to them, when they get their chance, to try to keep the shirt. I think the future looks bright with these guys. Gary is a good player, and since he's broken through he's worked really hard in training and matches - that has been impressive.

"It's up to him now - he could be a fixture in the centre of Villa's midfield for the next ten or 12 years."

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