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Page last updated at 19:50 GMT, Saturday, 1 August 2009 20:50 UK

O'Neill upbeat over Petrov injury

Gabriel Pereyra of Atalante outjumps Stiliyan Petrov in Malaga on Wednesday
Petrov (right) was injured during the first half in Malaga

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill is optimistic that Stiliyan Petrov will not require surgery after dislocating his shoulder in a pre-season friendly.

The midfielder, 30, suffered the injury during Villa's 3-1 Peace Cup win over Atlante in Spain on Wednesday.

O'Neill said: "The news initially is pleasing although it's still an injury which can cause you a lot of problems.

"At this moment, we are reasonably happy with it but we will see how it goes. He isn't out of the woods yet."

Villa, who face Wigan at home in their opening game on 15 August, finished sixth in the Premier League last season but injuries have weakened O'Neill's squad ahead of the new campaign.

Right-back Luke Young has already returned home to have treatment on an ongoing thigh problem while left-back Wilfred Bouma is still not ready to play after a year's absence with a dislocated ankle.

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The Villa boss sold captain Gareth Barry to Manchester City for £12m and brought in Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing for the same price.

However, Downing is not expected to return from a foot injury until December.

"We were concerned that he might have needed an operation, which could have kept him out for four months," added O'Neill, referring to Petrov's prognosis. "That would have been a major blow.

"We are hopeful it might settle down and he can play with it. We would then monitor it on a game-to-game basis."

Villa followed the 3-1 win over Mexican side Atlane with a 2-1 victory over Porto on Saturday to reach Sunday's final where they will play Juventus who defeated Real Madrid by the same scoreline.



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