Aston Villa Vs West Bromwich Albion, Sat 11 Dec 2010

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Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey will return after a seven-game absence for the home Barclays Premier League derby clash with West Brom.

The former England player has been sidelined with a knee problem since the goalless draw against Birmingham at Villa Park in late October.

Villa boss Gerard Houllier has confirmed Heskey will play some part against the Baggies.

Winger Ashley Young is available after missing the 3-0 defeat at Liverpool on Monday through suspension, but midfielder Ciaran Clark is banned after collecting his fifth yellow card of the campaign against the Reds.

Meanwhile, Houllier has held a meeting with all his backroom staff to try to find a solution to the club's recent slump in fortunes.

Houllier met with assistant manager Gary McAllister and coaches Gordon Cowans, Robert Duverne and Rafa Gonzalez in the aftermath of the 3-0 reversal at Liverpool on Monday.

Villa will take on the Baggies lying just two points above the relegation zone and Houllier is keen to resolve their current plight.

The Frenchman explained: "We are a team, we are five - myself, Macca, Gordon, Rafa and Robert. The day after the game against Liverpool we met practically all day.

"We talked about a few things, analysed a few things, questioned a few things.

"That's exactly the right process. We were supposed to go to France to see (scout) a player but we cancelled that."

Houllier is refusing to press the panic button and retains faith in his beliefs.

He said: "The players are fine, they will be all right. Sometimes it's good to have a big slap in the face like we probably had against Liverpool.

"You need to bounce back and show character. It's not ideal to have a derby, but we'll take it how it is.

"I'm not panicing at all. I know we'll get there. We know where we're going, we know our philosophy, we know exactly what we want to achieve.

"I know personally that this club at some stage will achieve and bounce back.

"But my aim is long term. This is very important, this is my philosophy."

West Brom midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu will return from suspension for the derby.

Striker Peter Odemwingie is battling to be fit - the six-goal leading scorer suffered a groin injury during the defeat of Newcastle and has been unable to train this week.

Midfielder Chris Brunt's ongoing groin problem means his training continues to be restricted, although he is hopeful of being fit.

Mulumbu has been warned to learn from his mistakes.

He collected his second red card in the space of four matches during the 4-1 win at Everton a fortnight ago and had to serve a two-game ban.

He had previously been given his marching orders when the Baggies went down 2-0 to Manchester City at the Hawthorns.

Mulumbu has been a key figure in Albion's best ever start to a season in the Barclays Premier League - 22 points from 16 games.

But West Brom head coach Roberto Di Matteo is aware of the need to keep him on the pitch.

Di Matteo told Press Association Sport: "I spoke to the player (Mulumbu) and he is a young player and he needs to learn from his mistakes.

"We need to give a bit of attention to the fact that our players are young and still learning how to manage games.

"Youssouf has been a bit unlucky but he needs to make sure it doesn't happen again in the future.

"He is a committed player but, if we talk about the last sending off at Everton, he got the first booking for going into the crowd.

"The second one was harsh because it wasn't a bad tackle at all. He got the ball and didn't really hurt the other player.

"But that is how the game is now."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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West Bromwich Albion
Premier League
Aston Villa

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