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By ESPN Staff

Laursen sets return date for latest comeback

Aston Villa defender Martin Laursen has set his sights on making a first-team comeback in the home Premiership clash with Watford on January 20.

The Danish international has been sidelined since sustaining a knee injury during the Carling Cup tie with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in early November.

Villa manager Martin O'Neill feared Laursen would be out of action for three months but he is well ahead of schedule in terms of his rehabilitation.

Laursen said: 'I started training with the first team on Monday and it's going well. I am hoping to be in the squad when we face Watford on Saturday week.

'My goal is to play as many matches as possible. I am really keen to do that.

'I am really sad that I have been injured so much during my time at Aston Villa because I want to play here in England and make an impact.'

Laursen had been dogged by a problem in his other knee during his first two seasons at Villa Park following a £3million move from AC Milan.

But he had been in encouraging form this season and forced his way into the side until the setback against Jose Mourinho's side.

O'Neill said: 'Martin worked so hard to get fit after the problems of the past couple of years so you had to have sympathy when he damaged his other knee at Chelsea.

'He had made so much progress from when I saw him in pre-season training to when the setback at Stamford Bridge occurred.

'But I knew that if we said he would be out for three months that he would probably be back quicker because he is that sort of person and he has so much determination.'