Belfast Telegraph

Benteke close to return

Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke has returned to training to end a five month injury lay-off.

Boss Paul Lambert confirmed the Belgium international rejoined the squad on Monday for the first time since rupturing his Achilles in April.

Benteke missed Belgium's World Cup campaign this summer after the injury but is on schedule with his September comeback expected.

Lambert told the club's official site: "I'm delighted with the efforts of the medical team here at Villa for working incredibly hard with Christian to get him back to fitness so quickly.

"Christian trained today, though it was a light session.

"Hopefully, with no effects from that, he'll train again tomorrow with the group.

"Obviously, we'll be monitoring his fitness and we'll continue to build him up towards a return to the team."

Benteke has scored 34 goals in 67 appearances for Villa since a £7million move from Genk in 2012 and had hinted at his return on Sunday.

He tweeted: "5months today! The road was long but tomorrow it's the big day! Doing what I love the most. Thank you all for the support you're the best."

Villa have Under-21 games against Derby and Bolton this month where Benteke could feature as he builds towards a Barclays Premier League return.

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