Paul Lambert has confirmed that Aston Villa’s star striker Christian Benteke could make his long-awaited return from injury in their home clash with Manchester City on Saturday evening.
The Villa chief has been without the 23-year-old Belgium international since he suffered a ruptured Achilles in early April, which subsequently scuppered the player’s hopes of playing for his country at the summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
However Benteke, who has been a huge influence at Villa, scoring 34 goals in 67 games since joining from Genk in a £7million move in 2012, hit the back of the net from the penalty spot as he came through an hour of Monday’s 3-0 Under-21s win against Bolton at Bodymoor Heath.
As a result, Lambert feels he is now ready to be eased back into the first team with an outing against reigning champions City at Villa Park this weekend a real possibility.
“If everything goes okay on Friday and he feels okay, then I will put Christian in the squad,” he said.
“He’s come through the last few weeks unscathed and he played for an hour on Monday in the U21s. We will see how he is but my intention is that he’ll be in the squad.
“First and foremost, his leg is better – his Achilles is okay. He has no ill effects on it whatsoever.”
Villa are 7.08 to win the game, while City are 1.46 and the draw is 4.10.