Aston Villa captain Martin Laursen is set to step up his rehabilitation work after knee surgery - but is reluctant to set a date for his comeback.

The former Danish international, sidelined since undergoing surgery, will start being involved next week in outside work at Villa's Bodymoor Heath training complex.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill has targeted the away Barclays Premier League clash with leaders Manchester United on April 5 for Laursen's return but the player himself is more cautious and said: "I'm really happy with the way the knee is. I don't really want to say when I'll be back. Next week I'll try and work outside."

He added: "I'll try and run and do a bit of ball work, and then we will see how it goes. We'll take it step by step, day by day.

"It's been difficult to watch from the sidelines and it's good to have a goal. but the next day you can have a setback and feel a bit sore, so we will see."

Laursen is desperate to return and play a part in Villa's push for a Champions League spot.

He said: "It is a special time for the club, and we are doing so well. We have the possibility to play Champions League football next year.

"We are playing some great football; we have a very talented squad. I would have loved to be involved these last couple of months, but it has just made me work harder to get back to fitness."

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