Bouma ready to make return

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Aston Villa left-back Wilfred Bouma is finally set to make his competitive comeback after six months out of action with a dislocated ankle.

The Holland international has been pencilled in to play in Villa's next reserve game with Chelsea on March 2. Bouma had initially been lined up to play last Monday against Arsenal's second string but was withdrawn after his leg felt sore on the morning of the game.

But the 30-year-old, who signed a new two year contract earlier in the campaign, is now back in training and Villa boss Martin O'Neill said: "Bouma should play in the next reserve game. He should have played last week but felt a bit sore on the day of the game."

He added: "He will not travel to Moscow for the UEFA Cup game with CSKA but he will do some work here."

O'Neill revealed that defender Carlos Cuellar and Nigel Reo-Coker will also not be part of the squad to face the Russians on Thursday after recent hamstring problems.

Cuellar was fit enough to return against Chelsea in the weekend home reversal but O'Neill does not want to risk aggravating the problem on the plastic pitch in the Luzhniki Stadium.

O'Neill said: "Cuellar will not be going to Moscow. He played at the weekend but, regardless of whether he played or not, I was not going to subject him to the travelling and playing on the plastic pitch - and the same goes with Reo-Coker.

"They will spend the week getting ready (for Sunday's game with Stoke)."

Reo-Coker has been side-lined since suffering the injury in the FA Cup fourth round tie at Doncaster and he then aggravated the problem in training.

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