Aston Villa latest: Delph boost, Albrighton facing 'strange' return, Okore finally comfortable

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Delph injury boost

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has revealed that Fabian Delph could be back on the pitch in a fortnight after returning to training today.

The midfielder took part in a light non-contact session and is making solid progress in his bid to return from a dislocated shoulder suffered in October.

Captain Ron Vlaar could also be back in training tomorrow as Villa prepare for Sunday's home game against Leicester City, but the Dutchman isn't in contention to feature on the afternoon.

Lambert hopes to see fellow centre-back Philippe Senderos return this month, too, while Jose Cole is set for spend two weeks on the sidelines after being forced off within the first 10 minutes of Tuesday's 1-0 win at Crystal Palace with a hamstring injury.

“Ron will hopefully maybe do a bit of training tomorrow with the team. He’s more advanced than Philippe," the boss told the club's official website.

“Ron is coming on. Fabian is coming on too.

“Fabian trained with the team today. It was non-contact with Fabian at the moment. But he is doing really well. Slowly but surely we are starting to get them back.

“Philippe I think hopefully, things going well, we will maybe get him back before the end of the month.

“Joe has injured his hamstring. So I think it will be hopefully a couple of weeks, maybe. It’s not too bad. Hopefully he gets back quicker.

“Joe was excellent at Burnley but, to be fair, Carlos came on at Palace and was excellent for us. Joe’s misfortune gave Carlos that chance to get back in again.

“But Joe was fantastic against Burnley.”

Albrighton prepared for 'strange' return to Villa Park

Sunday's match will also mark a first return to Villa Park for Marc Albrighton, following the winger's summer move to Leicester City on a free transfer.

A boyhood Villa fan, Albrighton signed for the club at the age of eight, before going on to score nine goals in 101 total first-team appearances from 2009 to 2014.

The 25-year-old admitted it was a shock not to be offered a new deal by Lambert at the end of last season, but will not let sentiment get in the way on the weekend.

“It is going to be a bit strange going back to the club where it all started and facing my old team-mates and friends,” he told the Leicester Mercury. “I spent 16 years there in total.

“I am really looking forward to it but I have to treat it like any other game. It is a game we are looking to win and get those all-important three points.

“I have all my family going; my mum, dad, family and friends. Everyone has asked for a ticket, so it will be special. Hopefully I can get some game time and we can get a win.

“It is something I am looking forward to. I have never played against an old club before. It will be a new experience but I can’t wait for Sunday to come so I can get out there.”

Weimann happy out wide

Albrighton won't be lining up against former teammate Andreas Weimann on the weekend, however, after the Austrian earned a one-match suspension after picking up his fifth league booking of the season.

Had he been in the line-up, the forward would have likely been deployed out wide, where he insists he now feels comfortable, despite still believing that he can be more effective through the middle.

"It does feel natural now," he told the club's official website. "I've played there the last two seasons so I know what the manager wants in that position, defensively and attacking.

"I've played there the last two seasons and as I've always said, as long as I'm in the team I don't really mind where I'm playing.

"The manager knows that my favourite position is through the middle but he believes I can do a job on the wing," he added. "Even though it is not my best position I think I can do a pretty good job.

"I've got three [goals] now so hopefully I can keep going and get more. That was my plan - to get more than last year - and I've started off well and hopefully I can carry on.

"In a lot of the games I've played as a winger or a midfielder, so getting double figures is tough but I will try my best. I want to get as many as I can."

Okore finally feeling at home

Another player who's feeling comfortable in the Villa side is Jores Okore, who is set to make his fourth consecutive start against Leicester.

Signing from FC Nordsjælland last summer for around £4 million, the Danish centre-back made just four appearances during his first season before suffering a serious knee injury against Newcastle United just one month into the campaign.

Despite returning to action in pre-season, he found himself on the fringes of the first-team over the early stages of this term, but recent injuries to Vlaar, Senderos and Nathan Baker have seen him seize his opportunity to stake a claim for a regular place.

“I’m really happy at the moment to be back on the teamsheet,” he told the Birmingham Mail. "It was very hard last season especially coming to a new country and a new place.

“It has been a long transition because I haven’t been a part of the team.

“I’ve needed to get to know the lads better outside of football.

“I have tried to hang with them and get to know them a bit better outside and I’m starting to feel a part of it now.”

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