Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood sweating over Jores Okore's fitness for FA Cup final

Aston Villa

The defender's knee problems have resurfaced in recent weeks to put his status for the weekend's meeting with Arsenal in serious doubt.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has revealed to the Birmingham Mail that Jores Okore is a serious doubt for the FA Cup final as he continues to deal with knee problems.

Okore, 22, missed most of his first season at Villa with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and was held out of first-team action over the first few months of this term due to lingering concerns over his fitness.

The Danish centre-back returned to the fold in November and has since gone on to make 27 total appearances, but he is now training just once a week after starting to feel pain in his troublesome right knee again over recent games.

Rested for Sunday’s 1-0 Premier League final-day defeat to Burnley in a bid to make the Wembley showpiece against Arsenal, he could now be facing surgery over the summer if the issue fails to clear up.

Speaking after the Clarets clash, Sherwood praised the selfless defender for fighting through the pain barrier during the team’s run-in but added that his status for the final is still up in the air.

"In his mind he thinks his job is done because he is doing it for the team. That’s the way he feels,” said the Villa boss. “I want him fit. Then I can make a choice.

“He really has gritted his teeth and got us over the line in the Premier League because he thought that was the priority.

“He is not thinking about himself. His performances, particularly with this injury considered, have been excellent.

“I’m hoping he doesn’t need surgery but I am not sure. It is related to the ACL but the ligaments are still intact.”

Fit-again Nathan Baker deputised for Okore on the weekend after returning from a four-week absence and would be in line to face Arsenal if his ailing teammate cannot make it back in time.

With Ciaran Clark also ruled out for the season and Ron Vlaar on a light workload himself due to his own knee problems, Sherwood will be contemplating wrapping up the rest of the backline in cotton wool ahead of the final.

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