Aston Villa boss Remi Garde explains Gabby Agbonlahor's absence against Manchester City

Gabriel Agbonlahor

The 29-year-old striker is still suffering with the same calf injury that has plagued him for several weeks.

Gabby Agbonlahor missed Aston Villa's 0-0 draw with Manchester City on Sunday through injury, manager Remi Garde has confirmed to the club’s official website.

The 29-year-old striker was forced off at half-time of last Monday's 3-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur with a calf problem and had been receiving treatment all week leading up to the visit of Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

Caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald revealed following the Spurs loss that the long-serving forward has been dealing with the same issue for the post six to seven weeks, having been sidelined for a three-game stretch earlier in the season, but Garde is hoping that the international break will give him enough time to get back up to speed.

The new manager was also quick to stress that the Birmingham native was in the dressing room both before and after the game, as his debut in charge of Villa saw the hosts pick up their first point since the 2-2 home draw with fellow strugglers Sunderland on 29 August.

“Gabby was off at half-time with a calf injury at Tottenham,” said Garde. “He was in treatment all week. He was not fit to play today.

“Let's see how the injury is going, but he was in the dressing room with all the lads and hopefully he will be fit soon.

Continuing on the result, the Frenchman added: "It gives us something to build on. We got a clean sheet against such a good team, such good players all over the field.

"That means we should be a little bit more confident next time. It was a good occasion to do it."

Villa’s first game after the international break sees them travel to Everton on 21 November, but even if Agbonlahor is fit for the trip, it remains to be seen whether he will feature.

The former England international is still to score this season after nine appearances, and having bagged just six goals in 36 games last term, patience with him among the fans is reaching breaking point.

Jordan Ayew came into the line-up on Sunday in his absence, and while he was relatively starved of service up top, his work rate earned him a standing ovation when he went off with seven minutes left.

The 24-year-old summer signing from Lorient has finally been hitting form in recent weeks after a slow start to life in the Midlands – scoring his first two Villa goals in consecutive games against Swansea City and Tottenham, respectively – and he now looks like he should be the team’s main striker going forward.

With the towering Rudy Gestede also an option when needing a physical presence up top, and Carles Gil, Scott Sinclair, Jack Grealish, Jordan Veretout and Adama Traore all able to fill in either out wide or behind a lone front man, all the signs point towards Agbonlahor having a tough time breaking back into the side under Garde.

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