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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Sutton no nearer to returning for Villa

Chris Sutton's hopes of returning to action in the immediate future have been dashed, with the Aston Villa striker showing no improvement to his blurred vision.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill had been hoping 33-year-old Sutton would be given the all clear to resume playing after his latest visit to see a specialist.

All he can restrict himself to is some non-contact training although O'Neill does not believe surgery is on the agenda at this juncture for the former Celtic player.

Sutton has been sidelined since suffering the setback during the home Barclays Premiership clash with Manchester United on December 23.

O'Neill said: 'Chris saw the specialist and the eye hasn't improved. We were hoping there would be a significant improvement and that Chris might be given the all clear.

'He hasn't been given that but Chris is far from downbeat and has decided he is going to do some non-contact training to get his fitness levels up and then the eye will be reassessed again.

'While it's a bit of a setback, he is still pretty upbeat and, at the moment, undergoing surgery is not something we are contemplating. It is a self-heal thing.

'But, while we want to be optimistic at some stage, it is definitely a slow process.

'Chris can go about his daily life but said, if his other eye was like it, he would be in a spot of bother.'

Meanwhile, O'Neill has received no further approach from local rivals Birmingham about taking central defender Liam Ridgewell on loan.

Blues boss Steve Bruce tried to sign Ridgewell as an 11th-hour replacement for Matthew Upson on the final day of the January transfer window but was knocked back.

O'Neill said: 'Steve made an initial inquiry about 10-11 days ago but no-one has contacted me again from Birmingham.'