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Villa without Bent for Christmas games

Aston Villa striker Darren Bent will miss Aston Villa's Christmas programme after suffering a hamstring injury in the midweek Capital One Cup win at Norwich.

• Blog: Transfer time advice

Villa manager Paul Lambert confirmed that scans showed 29-year-old Bent would be out of action for around four weeks.

Lambert said: "He has got a problem with his hamstring which will keep him out for a few weeks."

Asked whether that meant Bent would miss the Midlanders' Christmas programme, he added: "Yes, probably, the way it is looking. I think a few weeks - maybe four weeks, I'd say, before we see him back."

Bent suffered the injury after only 30 minutes of his first start for the club since October - the latest depressing note in a year he will want to forget, with doubts remaining over his long-term future at Villa.

His problems began in February when an ankle ligament injury ruled him out for the season and put him out of contention for England's Euro 2012 squad.

Bent started the new campaign in the Villa line-up, but was stripped of the captaincy, and another ankle injury - and the form of Christian Benteke - means Villa are likely to listen to offers of around £12m for their £24m record signing.

Lambert also said Villa captain Ron Vlaar will undergo a scan on the calf injury that has kept him out of the side for the past month.

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