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Villa - Three In & Two Out?

David O'Leary has confirmed that Mark Delaney will be out for the rest of the season following a knee injury.

There was an option for the defender to have an operation but that would have meant he would have been out of the game for a year.

O'Leary explained; 'The surgeon has decided to go down another route and hopefully this way, he'll be right for the start of pre-season training.

Reports are now suggesting that the right back and sometimes central defender has played his last game for Villa with Blackburn thought to be interested in the Wales international. Delaney was angry when the club only took up the one year option on his contract instead of extending it.

In better news it looks like Gareth Barry, Olof Mellberg and James Milner could all be fit to play some part in Sunday's grudge match against local rivals Birmingham City.

O'Leary said about Barry: 'The next few days will be important, but I think he'll be available. He's keen to play.'

On Milner he says: 'He's not joined in full training yet, but I'm very confident he might be available to play some part in the squad.'

Roy Aitken told the official site: 'Olof Mellberg and James Milner are coming along fine. They both trained again yesterday and they're making progress. Olof came through a session with a little bit of discomfort and so did James, but we're hopeful that they'll be OK soon. We're very positive on those two. As the week goes on, we'll assess them more, but it's looking more positive for both of those players at the moment.'

Meanwhile Roy Aitken says that Lee Hendrie is a major doubt for the derby game: 'Lee Hendrie is going to be a few days. He's not broken anything, but it was a heavy, heavy challenge. I thought it was a nasty challenge. Lee was obviously disappointed to come off in the game. I think it will take a few days to settle down and he's probably the one that's most unlikely to play against Birmingham. It has been a heavy knock, right at the top of his foot and there is a lot of swelling. But these things can settle down pretty quickly and we've got the extra day, with the game being played on Sunday, so we'll give him every chance.'

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday April 12 2006

Time: 3:38PM


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