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By ESPN Staff

Laursen loss has hurt Villa, says defender Young

Luke Young admitted Aston Villa have greatly missed the presence of injured skipper Martin Laursen at both ends of the pitch.

Laursen has suffered the latest in a long line of knee injuries which has ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign and the former AC Milan defender is due to meet Villa boss Martin O'Neill in the next 24 hours to discuss his future.

His absence has coincided with Villa's 11-game run without a win in which they have conceded 25 goals and seen their hopes of Champions League football virtually disappear.

Young said: ''Martin has been a big loss for us. He is one of those players, a little bit like a magnet in both penalty boxes.

''He wins everything when we are defending and he goes up the other end of the pitch, he scores some vital goals - and players like that are vital.

''It relieves so much pressure when you see him going up and winning absolutely everything in the air. He is a big loss to us and fingers crossed he can get back.''

Young added: ''When you've got problems with your knees, you can't rush things.

''You've got to make sure you are 100% right and hopefully he can get himself right and that we will see the best of him again.''

Young is hoping Villa can end the campaign on a high after slipping seven points behind fourth-placed Arsenal who have a game in hand.

He said: ''The season we've had overall sort of gets overshadowed with the bad run we've been on.

''A couple of months ago we were riding high, everything was positive, we were on such a great run, and trying to get Champions League football.

''It has taken the gloss off the end of the season a little bit but hopefully with the last five games we can pick it up again and give a good account of ourselves.''

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