- Premier League
Richard Dunne eyeing Villa return
Richard Dunne is hoping to return to full Aston Villa training within two weeks after battling back from a long-term groin problem.
The Republic of Ireland international, 33, has been out of action since suffering the injury at Euro 2012, and although he was set to return before the start of the season he has since undergone a second operation in a bid to fully recover.
Dunne is in the final year of his contract at Villa Park but hopes to be over the worst now and is aiming to leave a frustrating period in his career behind.
"The last operation I had seems to have really worked so I'm hopeful that I'll be back soon," he told the Birmingham Mail. "I've set a few targets but I keep missing them. It's frustrating when I can do all the running and the rehab but not the final bit.
"But I'm hoping - fingers crossed - that I can start training in a couple of weeks. I've got to see the doctor and from there, hopefully it will be the all clear. I've been lucky not to have too many injuries during my career but it's been almost seven months where I've not been fit."
Manager Paul Lambert is not expecting the veteran defender to figure in his first-team plans much before the turn of the year.
"He might get the tail end of the year, but you've got to take into account the training time it will take him to get fit. It's on his groin area he's been having a bit of a problem," Lambert said.
"We've got it looked at again and hopefully now that's it sorted. He had the surgery and then went back in again and got it done."