Villa sweating on Bent fitness
Paul Lambert believes the next 48 hours will determine the extent of the ankle injury which prevented Darren Bent from being part of victory against Sunderland at the weekend.
The Aston Villa manager is keeping his fingers crossed that the problem with the same ankle which kept him out of action for three months last season is not serious. Bent suffered serious ligament damage against Wigan earlier this year, which kept him out of Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 squad
The 28-year-old picked up his latest setback in training on Friday and was therefore ruled out of Villa's 1-0 win at his former club Sunderland on Saturday.
"Is it serious? I don't know yet. He will get treatment on it during the week and we will see. I know it was serious last year when Darren hurt the ankle," said Lambert. The injury is the latest setback in a miserable season so far for Villa's £18 million striker, after losing the captaincy and his place in Lambert's starting XI. He will have further tests on the ankle today to determine whether he will be fit enough to be part of the squad to face Manchester United on Saturday and Villa are hoping there is no significant damage after a problem suffered in training last week. "It is the same ankle he injured against Wigan and we could not take a chance with him against Sunderland. Darren wasn't fit and was really hobbling at Bodymoor Heath on Friday after training." Villa also have injury problems at left-back with rookie Enda Stevens finishing the match there after Joe Bennett aggravated an existing knee problem and Eric Lichaj sustained a muscle injury. "Eric's picked up a strain and Joe's wound keeps opening up so we will have to try to patch the both of them up," added Lambert. Lichaj will miss Saturday's with the Premier League leaders after triggering a one-match ban with his fifth booking at Sunderland.