Gabriel Agbonlahor walks from the pitch after being sent off

Villa set for Agbonlahor return

Aston Villa are hopeful that forward Gabriel Agbonlahor will recover in time from a hamstring injury for Saturday’s English Premier League trip to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City.

The 28-year-old was absent last Sunday as the Villa Park outfit defeated Liverpool in the English FA Cup semi-final at Wembley which booked them their trip to the England national stadium on May 30 to face Arsenal in the final of the competition.

Agbonlahor has made good progress in recovering this week and manager Tim Sherwood is looking to get him into the team for the game against City.

Villa will have defenders Philippe Senderos and Aly Cissokho back from respective thigh and groin injuries, while midfielder Jack Grealish is in the squad despite a picture, taken last year, of him inhaling nitrous oxide emerging this week.

Centre-backs Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker are unlikely to play again this season due to both players with knee problems, while right-back Alan Hutton is progressing after picking up an ankle injury but will not make the trip to Manchester and Scott Sinclair is ineligible to play against the club loaning him out.

Sherwood told his players to forget about the FA Cup and focus on Premier League survival but try and harness the feel-good factor from beating Liverpool to boost their confidence ahead of the trip to City.

With his side currently sitting four points and three places above the drop zone, Sherwood said: “There’s probably never a good time to play Man City but we have to play them. They’ve shown they are beatable, even at the Etihad. We’ll go there and try to win.

“Man City, like Liverpool and Tottenham, have players who can win games on their own. We must nullify their threat. If we do so, we can impose our own style in the game. We believe we can go there and get something.

“We have to realise the FA Cup is now on the backburner. We realise we have a lot of hard work to do to stay in the Premier League.”

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