Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has revealed that Christian Benteke is pushing for a starting role in Saturday’s trip to Everton.
The 23-year-old Belgian striker suffered a ruptured Achilles in early April but made his long-awaited first-team comeback in the recent 2-0 home defeat to Manchester City as a 61st-minute substitute.
He has since been working on his sharpness over the international break and, with the side failing to score in the past three league games, Lambert is mulling whether to name him to the weekend’s starting XI.
‘Christian is pushing to start,’ he was quoted on Sky Sports.
‘I said at the time that the international break would come at a good time for him, because that gave him another couple of weeks to train with the team, and we had a [behind-closed-doors] game here against Leicester that he scored in so that gave him a lift as well.’
Captain Ron Vlaar has also been out for the past four matches after picking up a calf strain in the 1-0 win over Hull City, but Lambert added that the Dutchman is set to make a return himself.
‘It's great,’ he said. ‘He went out of the team at a really good point for him, the way he was playing, and it was a blow for us that he pulled up injured.
‘It's good to have him back, that's really good. If everything is all right then Ron will travel.’
Villa could certainly do with the good news on the fitness front, after seeing midfield talisman Fabian Delph ruled out for around two months with a shoulder injury, while centre-back Philippe Senderos will miss the trip to Merseyside with a thigh strain.