O'Neill expects Bouma back next season

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Martin O'Neill expects Aston Villa left-back Wilfred Bouma to be fully fit for the start of pre-season training after keyhole surgery to his ankle ended hopes of a comeback this season.

Bouma dislocated his ankle during the Intertoto Cup clash with Odense BK in July and was sidelined for eight months and after featuring for the reserves further scans revealed some floating bone in his ankle which meant the Dutch international required further surgery.

O'Neill said: "Freddy will miss the rest of the season. It's been a wretched time for him. He has gone to see the specialist who helped him with the injury originally."

He added: "He has gone in for some keyhole surgery to remove some of the particles that have been floating around.

"Whether they've been there for a week or a few months, we're not sure. But it's causing him discomfort.

"The long and short of it is that he'll be out for the rest of the season. But he should, with a bit of luck, come roaring back during pre-season."

Meanwhile striker and 13-goal joint top scorer Gabriel Agbonlahor and midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker look set to be fit for Monday's Barclays Premier League clash with Hull at Villa Park.

Agbonlahor and Reo-Coker both missed the 1-1 draw at Bolton last weekend with hamstring and knee injuries respectively.

O'Neill is confident the pair will be fit for the Bank Holiday clash.

He said: "Nigel and Gabby should be fine. Gabby has trained - although he did train last week to be fair and still missed the Bolton game."

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Gabriel Agbonlahor
Nigel Reo-Coker
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Aston Villa
Hull City

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