Delph boost for Villa
Villa midfielder Fabian Delph returned to training on Tuesday after shrugging off a knee injury to hand the club a welcome boost.
Last Updated: 14/12/11 9:50am
Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph returned to training on Tuesday after shrugging off a knee injury to hand the club a welcome boost.
Delph was sidelined for Saturday's 2-1 victory at Bolton after picking up a knock in the build-up to the Reebok Stadium clash.
But the 22-year-old has resumed training and assistant boss Peter Grant is delighted to see him back in action as Villa gear up for a busy festive period.
The Midlanders will face Premier League big guns Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea before the end of the month, as well as making a testing trip to Stoke.
Grant told the club's official website: "Obviously at the weekend we lost Fabian before the game.
"He had a bit of a problem with his knee. It was more of a knock that he got in training but we can't take chances just now going into all these big games.
"You know the Christmas period is so tough. You get very little time to rest so we couldn't afford to lose another body.
"Fabian trained on Tuesday morning. He missed Monday but we're glad to see him back on the training field and he feels a lot better now.
"Last Thursday he had a bit of a knock at the end of training and he started to train on Friday and he was still feeling it a little bit and you could see that in his training.
"So we more or less made the decision for him, because you could see he wasn't moving freely.
"All the players are desperate to play, so great credit to him for coming on to the training pitch, but you could just tell he never had that sharpness about him.
"We just felt it was too important to take a chance on him."
Grant also expects right-back Eric Lichaj to return in the New Year as he continues to make progress in his recovery from a hip injury which has kept him out for the last three months.
The United States international has returned to light training with the physios and Grant added: "Eric's the only one at this moment in time, so we've just got to keep an eye on him.
"But he's getting stronger every day and it's great to see him out on the training field every day, not with us, but with the physios.
"So hopefully it will be the turn of the year when he comes back and he'll be fully fit."