Herd on the way back
Aston Villa midfielder Chris Herd has started on the comeback trail after two-and-a-half months out of action with ankle ligament damage.
Australian-born Herd played an hour of Tuesday afternoon's reserve team clash with West Brom and came through with no apparent ill-effects.
Herd had established himself as a first team regular under Alex McLeish and formed an effective partnership alongside Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov.
He had played in seven successive first team matches, and been rewarded with a new three-and-a-half year contract, before suffering the ankle setback in early December.
Herd's injury also denied him a first cap for the Socceroos after he had been selected for the matches with Oman and Thailand.
Another up and coming Villa player, defender Eric Lichaj, continued his return from injury by playing the full 90 minutes against Albion.
It was his second reserve outing after five months on the sidelines following hip surgery in September.
Lichaj had also made his senior breakthrough before the injury and scored his first Villa goal in the Carling Cup success over Hereford.