Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is weighing up whether to hand Christian Benteke his first-team comeback on the weekend after seeing him feature for the club’s under-21 side.
The striker played just over an hour in a 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at Bodymoor Heath, opening the scoring with a 33rd-minute spot-kick, in what was his first match since suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon during a training session in April.
Having appeared to come through the occasion unscathed, the Belgian international could be named on the bench for Saturday’s Premier League clash at home to holders Manchester City, but Lambert stresses that his status will need to be closely monitored over the course of the week.
‘Christian played for about an hour today and we’re delighted with how he came through the game,’ he told the club’s official website.
‘It was great to see him back out there and he played well in the time he was on the pitch.
‘He scored a goal, which is great for him, and his general play was good, too, considering how long he’s been away from it.
‘We’ll see how he feels tomorrow and how he recovers but it was a good, positive step for him today. It will have given him a lift to get out there and play and score a goal and that’s great for him.’
Villa have recorded just nine shots on target over their first six league games this season and, with Benteke boasting a record of 34 goals in 67 total appearances, his imminent return will no doubt provide the lineup with a much-needed attacking boost once up to full speed.