Laursen hit by fresh setback

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Aston Villa skipper Martin Laursen has suffered a setback in his bid to return to action after his knee problem.

The Danish defender had hoped to be back in contention for the Barclays Premier League clash at Manchester United on April 5.

But the former AC Milan player, sidelined since early January, had a reaction during training and his knee swelled. Villa manager Martin O'Neill confirmed: "Martin has had a bit of a setback. He was doing fine and then his knee got a bit sore and puffed up a little bit after training.

He added: "Hopefully it will only be a three or four day setback. But any setback at this stage would be a genuine one simply because of Martin's importance to the team.

"Maybe his enthusiasm was too strong - he was possibly doing too much, too soon. But we will see.

"He may even have been ahead of schedule at one stage - so we just hope it's a minor setback at the moment."

Midfielder Steve Sidwell and defender Wilfred Bouma are making good progress after hamstring and ankle problems respectively.

O'Neill said: "Steve was injured before he went out to Dubai (for a five-day training camp) but he is responding. He is not too far away.

"Wilfred has just had the one reserve game but he has done plenty of training now, which is very encouraging.

"I am not saying he is ready immediately because he has been out for a long time, but it is great to see him back."

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Premier League
Manchester United
Aston Villa
Steve Sidwell

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