Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has given a positive update on the fitness status of injured Christian Benteke, with the Scot hopeful that his star striker will return to first-team training after the international break.
Belgian international Benteke has been sidelined since April, after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon during a training session which ruled him out of the World Cup this summer, having scored 10 in goals in 26 league games up to that point.
That blow to Lambert’s side came just three months after fellow frontman Libor Kozak broke his leg in a training ground collision, with the club forced to battle through the closing weeks of the season without their two main options up front.
However, despite initial fears that both could be out for the first-half of the new campaign, Lambert thinks Benteke’s return could come as soon as next month, and is also positive on his teammate’s status too.
‘Christian and Libor are doing really well,’ he told the club’s official website.
'Christian is ahead of Libor at the minute in his rehab. He will be, with a bit of luck, doing little bits with us after the break. Then we will see how he is. Libor is a bit behind him but doing very well himself.
‘If Christian can start training with us then that would be a major thing. Then we will have to see how he is for games-wise and see how he feels himself but, in terms of physical condition, he's looking fantastic. He's desperate to get back.
‘He'll be his own guide on it. He will let us know how he's feeling.’
Villa no doubt need Benteke back as soon as possible, having mustered just one shot on target from their opening two Premier League games.
The club’s undisputed talisman since arriving from Genk in August 2012 for around £7 million, the prolific frontman boasts an impressive league record of 29 goals in 60 games, but caution will be exercised when it comes to rushing him back into first-team contention.
How big a boost will Benteke's return be to Villa?