Aston Villa defender Jores Okore declares himself fit to face Sunderland after injury scare

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The 23-year-old Denmark international missed Monday's 2-0 defeat at Norwich City after suffering a recurrence of his persistent knee problem.

Aston Villa centre-back Jores Okore has told AVTV that the knee problem which forced him to miss the 2-0 defeat at Norwich City was nothing serious and should not keep him out of Saturday's clash with Sunderland.

Okore previously missed the opening four months of this season following summer knee surgery but has since made four starts for the club after returning to first-team action three weeks ago in the 1-1 draw at Southampton.

However, the Danish defender suffered further knee trouble during the 1-1 home draw with West Ham United last Saturday and subsequently sat out the Norwich match on Monday afternoon as a result.

Having also missed most of his first season at Villa with a ruptured anterior ligament, there were unsurprisingly concerns over yet another setback, but the 23-year-old is thankfully already back in training and gearing up to face the Black Cats at the Stadium of Light.

“I trained the whole session [on Wednesday] so everything was good,” Okore told AVTV. “My fitness is fine. I feel good. I’m just glad to be back training regularly and playing games. I’m taking one game at a time and every game I play I feel fitter and fitter, so it’s an improvement.”

2015-16 Premier League Total TacklesTackle AccuracyTotal ClearancesHeaders WonHeader SuccessInterceptionsPassing AccuracyBall RecoveriesAppearancesMins Played
Jores Okore 7 29% 25 3 60% 8 84% 20 4 360

Okore impressed in his four starts this month alongside centre-back partner Joleon Lescott, as Villa lost just once in a 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal and drew the other three games 1-1, but the Denmark international still believes that he has not quite shaken off all the rust after his extended spell on the sidelines.

“It was really nice to be back playing after a while of being out,” he added. “I’ve been playing games so that was good, but when you play your first game in a while you need to find yourself, find your position and get used to playing the games.

“The games are played at a high speed and go really quick because there are quality players on the pitch, so you need to be sharp for 90-plus minutes. It’s been better and better for every game I’ve played so I’m looking forward to playing some more.”

Villa, meanwhile, sit 11 points from safety at the foot of the Premier League going into Saturday’s clash with relegation rivals Sunderland and have gone 18 games without a win since beating Bournemouth 1-0 in their season opener.

Whether Okore is back in the line-up on the weekend remains to be seen after Micah Richards and Ciaran Clark started in the heart of defence against Norwich, but the promising stopper is hoping to feature as much as possible over the second half of the campaign in order to help his side beat the odds and retain their top-flight status.

“We really want to show that it’s a coincidence that we’re down at the bottom and haven’t won for a while,” he told AVTV. “We really want to show that we can be a Premier League team and win games.

“I think we’ve been in games and performed well but we haven’t had the luck to get in front of score winning goals. I just think we lack a little bit but hopefully we can get there starting on Saturday.

“My Villa career has been a little bit like our season right now. It’s been unlucky with some minor things not going our way so I think maybe we can change it – new year, new start. From here we can go on a run and show that we’ve got Premier League qualities.”

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