Injured Aston Villa quartet concern Martin O’Neill

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Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has admitted that Gabby Agbonlahor, Carlos Cuellar, Curtis Davies and James Collins are all struggling to be ready for the start of the new Premier League season because of injuries.

The quartet all missed Friday's pre-season stalemate against Valencia because of various ailments.

Agbonlahor and Cuellar are struggling with hamstring injuries, Curtis Davies has a knee problem while James Collins has failed to recover from a calf niggle.

O'Neill said:"Gabby's had a stop-start pre-season. He's been able to do some training yet when the games have come up it's caused him a bit of a problem.

"He played in the first half in Ireland. He's come off with a bad back. He trained on Friday morning and we were hoping he was going to be OK. But he said his hamstrings were sore, which might be a reaction from the back.

"Really, he is very keen to play – there's a possibility of trying to get into the England squad which would be great.

"The prognosis with Curtis is better than first anticipated. It's a shorter time-frame, let me put it that way, so that's good news. We thought at one stage it might be months but I think it's a matter of a couple of weeks.

"He's definitely hyper-extended his knee but things are progressing reasonably nicely. That's where he is.

"James, a wee bit like Gabby, has had a stop-start pre-season. He pulled up after a minute at Walsall and came out with us to Portugal. We didn't expect him to play but this is one where we pull him back again and not go in when he's three-quarters fit.

"He's really frustrated because he was looking forward to starting the season well and carrying on from where he stopped off last season. We will take that a bit carefully.

"Carlos went off with a hamstring problem against Benfica. Again, he is anxious to get out and play but that's one of those where you've got to wait and see. If you're asking me about the situation concerning the start of the season, I don't know."

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