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Sep 10, 2008

Sidwell suffers injury setback

Steven Sidwell's hopes of finally making his Premier League debut for Aston Villa have been hit by a knee injury picked up on reserve team duty. The former Reading midfielder, who moved to Villa Park for £5million from Chelsea at the end of last season, suffered a calf strain before the start of the campaign but appeared ready to return to first team action.

However, manager Martin O'Neill has admitted that the knee complaint makes him a doubt for Monday night's clash with Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

Sidwell made his debut for Villa against Odense in their Intertoto Cup encounter in July and played in both legs. But he has not played for the club since then which has frustrated the Villa boss.

O'Neill said: "We are monitoring him at the moment but he might be a doubt for Monday which would be disappointing for us.

"It's unavoidable, these things can happen. But it's particularly galling as Steve has never picked up an injury before in his career.

"He just wants to get his Villa career up and running and it's very disappointing. I don't think it (the knee) is anything to overly concern us though. We will monitor it over the next few days.''

O'Neill also has concerns over another of his summer signings, £7.8million Rangers capture Carlos Cuellar.

The defender has yet to make an appearance since moving from north of the border after arriving in the Midlands with a calf problem himself.

But the 27-year-old has come through his reserve outings unscathed. He said: "I am very happy because I am able to play now after recovering from the injury. I feel better and everything is looking good. I didn't feel any problems.

"I am getting closer to being available to the manager. Every day in training, I feel better and everything is moving in the right direction.

"I feel great and I'm looking forward to the competition with Martin Laursen, Curtis Davies and Zat Knight for a first-team spot.''

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