Aston Villa injury update: Sherwood reveals huge boost for long-time absentee

Ahead of Saturday's visit of Stoke, new boss Tim Sherwood has provided updates on the fitness of Libor Kozak, Carles Gil, Gabby Agbonlahor, Philippe Senderos and Nathan Baker.

New Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has revealed to the club’s official website that Libor Kozak could return form his broken leg before the end of the season.

The 25-year-old Czech striker was injured in a training ground collision with Ciaran Clark last January, but had looked on course to make his comeback in October until suffering a significant setback.

Complications forced him to have the leg re-pinned, putting his return date back several months, but the since-departed Paul Lambert declared earlier this month that his rehabilitation was back on track.

“Libor is doing well. He is doing well with his rehab,” he told his press conference before the recent Chelsea clash. "He is out there running. But it's too early for him."

The Scot was sceptical at the time about whether Kozak would be on back on the pitch within the next few months, but Sherwood believes there is a chance, revealing that the eight-times capped front man is back in training with the Under-21s.

"Libor is back in training,” he said. "It's non-contact and it's with the U21 squad. They are tailoring the sessions for him, which is good.

"We are bedding him in nice and slowly. He has that get the confidence up because it was a nasty break and didn't heal as quickly as everyone wanted.”

Arriving from Lazio in September 2013 for a reported €6.5 million fee, Kozak netted four times in his first 15 games for Villa before being sidelined.

With the club on course to be the Premier League’s lowest-ever scorers after recording just 12 goals in 25 games, having the former Serie A ace back in the mix would be a huge boost to their survival hopes, but it remains to be seen what he could offer this season after being out for so long.

Whatever the case, Kozak won’t be available for Sherwood’s first game in charge on Saturday afternoon when Stoke visit Villa Park, but both Gabby Agbonlahor and Carles Gil are fit and in contention.

The pair missed last weekend’s 2-1 FA Cup win over Leicester with hamstring issues, but defenders Nathan Baker and Philippe Senderos are now the lone doubts.

"Carles and Gabby are fit,” Sherwood added. "Gabby was on fire today. Everyone is flying and can't wait to get started.

"They just all want to play and it's great to see. Nathan is not fit. Philippe didn't train today either. Everyone else is raring to go."

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