Aston Villa injury update: Featuring Gabby Agbonlahor, Ross McCormack and others

Gabriel Agbonlahor of Aston Villa in action

The two strikers are both suffering with knocks ahead of Saturday's home game against Cardiff City, while Micah Richards is set to miss his sixth straight match due to a knee problem.

Gabriel Agbonlahor of Aston Villa in action

Aston Villa strikers Gabby Agbonlahor and Ross McCormack are both facing a race against time to be fit for Saturday’s visit of Cardiff City, manager Steve Bruce has revealed at his pre-match press conference.

Having been on a six-week fitness programme since Bruce’s arrival in early October, Agbonlahor was finally handed his start of the season at Brighton & Hove Albion last Friday night, playing 55 minutes before making way for Jordan Ayew as Villa extended their unbeaten run to six games with a 1-1 draw.

The 30-year-old forward picked up calf injury in training earlier this week, however, and while Bruce still expects him to be available for Saturday afternoon, the squad's surplus of attacking options means he may not be risked.

“Gabby has a calf issue,” Bruce told reporters at his press conference. “He has a niggle and was unable to train on Wednesday. He’s had his own mini pre-season which is now coming to an end. We think he will be available for the weekend.

“I’ve said it many, many times that what happened before me is irrelevant. He has worked extremely, extremely hard. The game before Brighton (a 2-1 home win over Blackburn Rovers), I think he turned it our way. He came on as a substitute and made a big impact.

“He’s a big character in the dressing room. I think they’ve all been taken aback at how hard he’s worked. I couldn’t have asked any more of him and I think he deserved his start.”

McCormack, meanwhile, was suspended for the trip to Brighton after picking up five yellow cards this season and is now dealing with a sore ankle that has kept him out of training all week.

The summer signing from Fulham looks unlikely to return to the starting XI against Cardiff as a result and may well have to sit out the match altogether along with Micah Richards, who is set to miss his sixth straight game due to a knee problem.

“Ross has a sore ankle. He has picked up a knock,” Bruce added at his press conference. “He hasn’t trained most of the week. We will see how he is today.

“Micah’s issue is still going on and he’s on a progamme to see if we can get his knee to settle down.”

Aston Villa's Ross McCormack reacts

Bruce also provided an update on the status of Ritchie De Laet as the Belgian right-back continues his recovery from the serious knee injury he suffered during September’s 1-1 home draw with Brentford.

There is no chance of the former Leicester City defender returning to action before the end of the current campaign, but his manager is hopeful that he will be back up to full speed by the time preseason gets underway next summer.

“We’ve seen him around the training ground. His knee is now starting to resemble a knee,” Bruce explained. “He’s out of the big brace that he had. It’s a slow recovery, but with the way these medics are now and these surgeons, then he’s on the road to recovery.

“He’s got a long way ahead and we are probably looking at next pre-season for him to be involved.”

Aston Villa's Ritchie De Laet (L) is substituted after picking up an injury

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