Aston Villa injury update: Vlaar and Baker feature

Manager Tim Sherwood has provided fitness updates on the ailing members of his squad ahead of the FA Cup quarter-final visit of West Bromwich Albion.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has told the club’s official website that he hopes to have captain Ron Vlaar available for the weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final visit of West Bromwich Albion.

Vlaar, 30, missed last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United after a late sending off in the 2-1 home loss to Stoke, when he conceded a last-minute spot-kick, before a calf problem ruled him out of the first match of their West Brom double-header.

The Dutchman has featured just once since returning from a recent knee operation which left him sidelined for four weeks, while further calf issues have also seen him limited to 14 appearances for Villa this season.

Nevertheless, Sherwood is hoping his skipper will be available when the Baggies return on Saturday afternoon, with a fitness test scheduled for the eve of the derby.

"We will wait until the very last minute with Ron,” he said. "We are hoping he will be fit and add to the squad."

Villa will be depleted enough as it is in defence for the West Brom clash, with left-backs Aly Cissokho and Kieran Richardson both looking set to miss their third consecutive matches, and right-back Alan Hutton suspended after picking up his 10th booking of the season in the midweek encounter.

Nathan Baker also remains “a couple of weeks” from a return, meaning Matthew Lowton is expected to continue deputising at left-back, with Leandro Bacuna the likeliest candidate to fill in on the right-hand side of defence.

Ciaran Clark and Jores Okore have struck up a fine rapport in the centre of the back-four during Vlaar's frequent absences this season, however, suggesting the veteran's absence might not be such a big loss.

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