Belfast Telegraph

Villa stars set to play through pain barrier

By Nick Mashiter

Tim Sherwood has revealed Aston Villa's injury crisis shows no sign of ending ahead of their crucial clash with QPR.

Villa host Rangers tonight knowing defeat would see their visitors leapfrog them and plunge Villa into the Premier League relegation zone.

Alan Hutton, Ashley Westwood and Scott Sinclair are out while Tom Cleverley, Aly Cissokho and Kieran Richardson are major doubts.

Philippe Senderos is unlikely to feature while Libor Kozak continues to recover from his broken leg. And Sherwood admitted some players may have to play through the pain barrier in Villa's survival fight.

"I've never seen an injury crisis like it. I never thought I'd be one of those managers who moans about injuries but I have to," he said. "They're not trivial injuries, they're always two, three, four weeks. It's okay in September but not now.

"It's a case of seeing who can come in."

Sherwood worked with QPR boss Chris Ramsey at Tottenham for seven years and Ramsey was his assistant when Sherwood was head coach at White Hart Lane last season.

But the Villa chief insists their friendship will be put to one side ahead of the game.

"Our relationship has not changed. I respect Chris as a coach and a manager. Good luck to him - not tonight, though. I hope we both survive."

• Malky Mackay was last night sacked as Wigan manager after 138 days in charge of the Championship strugglers.

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