Belfast Telegraph

Benteke eyeing City comeback

Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke could make his long-awaited return from injury in his side's upcoming clash with Manchester City.

The Belgian hitman has been out since April with an Achilles injury and the Villans have badly missed his presence up front.

The 23-year-old only returned to training recently but Villa boss Paul Lambert has revealed he may be ready in time to face the champions a week on Saturday.

"He's getting closer," said the Scot. "Next week we will see how he is for the Man City game.

"I'm not saying he'll start, or anything, but he's certainly getting close."

Villa will certainly welcome the Belgian's return.

They boast the second best defence in the Barclays Premier League so far - behind only Southampton - but are finding goals hard to come by at the other end.

That defensive record stands despite conceding three in a 3-0 home defeat by Arsenal last weekend when Lambert's squad was hit hard by a virus within the camp.

The manager revealed they were still suffering from it earlier this week but hopes for a clean bill of health for Saturday's trip to Chelsea.

"We closed the training ground down on Monday and some of the lads still came back feeling a bit groggy on Tuesday," he said.

"Today they feel a lot better so hopefully it's out of their system. Everybody's trained and hopefully we'll get a clean bill of health for Saturday."

He added: "We don't know where it came from. Lads were just going down all the time. I've never known it where lads are throwing up on the morning of a game.

"Ashley Westwood was sick in the warm-up, Nathan Baker, Darren Bent and Andi Weimann were at half-time, we were really struggling. It's not an excuse but it's a fact. We could have been better defensively but we weren't at 100 per cent."

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