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Thursday, February 18, 1999 Published at 15:18 GMT

Sport: Football

Colly in last chance clinic

Collymore has waved goodbye to team-mates until Sunday

Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore is back in a clinic receiving stress stress counselling despite his surprise return as a substitute in Wednesday's home defeat by Leeds.

But Villa boss John Gregory says he may be back to play a "perfect role" as substitute in Sunday's Premiership match with Wimbledon.

Collymore was not expected back at Villa Park for at least another week following his treatment for depression and Gregory has warned him this is his last chance.

"I had a conversation with our physiotherapist Jim Walker during the afternoon when it became apparent that Stan was quite willing to sit on the bench," said Gregory of his decision to select the striker.

"So we went for it. I just asked him to put aside all the rubbish that's been attached to him and get back to playing football.

"He did OK when he went on but at the moment I think that is the perfect role for him."

Supersub Stan?

Gregory hinted it was likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future. "Whenever Ole Gunnar Solskjaer starts a game for Manchester United he usually gets hauled off because he can't play for 90 minutes.

"But he's the ideal substitute to bring on for the last 20 minutes when the opposition have tired legs."

Until Sunday's game Collymore will continue to receive treatment at a private clinic.

"He seems positive it is working and helping him, and if that is the case, then it's helping Aston Villa," added Gregory.

"But I am still very sceptical about him receiving counselling and find it difficult to understand. "But then I'm from the old school and I prefer to see players roll their sleeves up and get on with it."

Last chance saloon

And Gregory warned Collymore this is his last chance.

"I have been at this club 12 months. Ten months of that has been spent trying to protect him, trying to get the best out of him, concerning myself with non-football related matters.

"It's not as if I haven't given the big man every chance. But this is really the last throw of the dice for him. It's got to work for him this time.

"I gather he is suffering from mental depression, but once he gets the full all-clear and comes back to work fully, he has to do the business because he has run out of chances with everybody.

"It's not just me he has run out of chances with, it's the entire club, players, directors and supporters."

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