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Aston Villa dealt Wilfred Bouma setback

Wilfred Bouma's return from injury has been delayed again following news that the Dutch defender has suffered a toe injury.

Bouma has not featured for Villa since suffering a nasty dislocation of the ankle during an Intertoto Cup fixture against Odense in July 2008.

And while his ankle issues are subsiding, Bouma is currently prevented from training by a toe injury which has slowed his return to fitness.

"In terms of his old injury, I think Wilfred is pleased that it's coming on very well but he now has a toe injury which has certainly hindered his progress," manager Martin O'Neill said.

"It's preventing him from doing anything. He is unable to train at the moment. He's stubbed it but it is a wee bit sorer than that. It's far from being a long-term injury but, when you think you are well on the road to recovery, every setback seems to be more pronounced."

Meanwhile, Villa's £12 million summer signing, Stewart Downing, is in training with his team-mates having recovered from a broken ankle sustained last season at Middlesbrough. O'Neill now hopes to have the winger at his disposal in the coming weeks.

"It's been very pleasing to have Stewart back in training but, if I'm pleased, he is absolutely delighted," O'Neill said. "Players hate medium or long-term injuries. It's their worst nightmare and it knocks your spirit but Stewart has been very positive throughout all of this and that helps.

"He is joining in training although who knows exactly when he will be fit - but it is encouraging anyway. It will be like getting a new player when Stewart is fit. If he can continue the progress he has made and doesn't have any reaction, then I think he is pretty positive about the next few weeks."

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