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Page last updated at 10:41 GMT, Thursday, 8 January 2009

Villa waiting on key injured trio

Carlos Cuellar
Carlos Cuellar is back in training and hopes to return to the first team squad

Aston Villa hope to have midfielder Gareth Barry and defenders Martin Laursen and Carlos Cuellar back for Saturday's derby against West Brom.

Laursen picked up a knee injury in December, Barry has a groin problem and Cuellar has a hamstring complaint.

"Martin and Carlos are feeling optimistic now," boss Martin O'Neill told the club's website.

Meanwhile, Villa have signed teenage defender Arsenio Halfhuid, 17, from Dutch side Excelsior Rotterdam.

The Netherlands Under-18 international, a cousin of former Chelsea and Southampton defender Ken Monkou, has signed a three-year contract.

Barry is a more likely starter for the match against the Baggies even though his niggling groin injury caused him to go for a scan earlier this week.

606: DEBATE

"I don't know if Saturday will come too quickly but they will be available in the not too distant future," added O'Neill.

"Gareth irritated a groin strain which he has been carrying for a few weeks.

"We have had tests done and it hasn't come out as really bad but, if it continues to be a problem, it might be something we look at.

"He will still be putting himself forward for the game on Saturday which is good news."

O'Neill is still without Norwegian international striker John Carew with back and leg injuries, while Wilfred Bouma remains a long-term absentee.

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see also
Baggies hit by new injury worries
06 Jan 09 |  West Brom
O'Neill disappointed by away draw
05 Jan 09 |  Aston Villa
Gillingham 1-2 Aston Villa
04 Jan 09 |  FA Cup


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