Bouma suffers new setback

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Aston Villa defender Wilfred Bouma has suffered another injury blow which has delayed his comeback after 16 months out of action.

The Holland international has not tasted senior action since dislocating an ankle in July 2008 during an Intertoto Cup clash with Odense. Bouma is over that problem but is now sidelined with a toe injury which means he is unable to train and has again put his return on ice.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill said: "In terms of his old injury, I think Wilfred is pleased that it's coming on very well but he now has a toe injury which has certainly hindered his progress."

He added: "It's preventing him from doing anything. He is unable to train at the moment. He's stubbed it but it is a wee bit sorer than that.

"It's far from being a long-term injury but, when you think you are well on the road to recovery, every setback seems to be more pronounced."

O'Neill continues to be pleased with the progress being made towards full fitness by £12million summer signing Stewart Downing from his broken ankle.

The former Middlesbrough player has resumed full training although there is no specific date pencilled in for his return to competitive action.

O'Neill said: "It's been very pleasing to have Stewart back in training but, if I'm pleased, he is absolutely delighted.

"Players hate medium or long-term injuries. It's their worst nightmare and it knocks your spirit but Stewart has been very positive throughout all of this and that helps.

"If he can continue the progress he has made and doesn't have any reaction, then I think he is pretty positive about the next few weeks."

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Stewart Downing
Premier League
Aston Villa

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