Villa captain Agbonlahor ‘not at the level to contribute’

Date published: Thursday 14th April 2016 3:31

Gabby Agbonlahor Aston Villa

Aston Villa club captain Gabriel Agbonlahor has been ruled out for two weeks as he undergoes a personal fitness programme. 

The forward will train partly with the Under-21s as the club, who could be relegated from the Premier League at Manchester United on Saturday, try to get him fit.

He was ruled out of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth after calling in sick with a virus 24 hours before the game.

It was the second straight game he missed after caretaker boss Eric Black left him out of the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea as the club investigated his conduct during a holiday to Dubai last month before taking no further action.

Black said: “After last week I sat down with Gabby on Monday and we agreed to put in place a fitness regime to get him up to speed. I can only control the elements I can control. I have to try to get the best out of the squad I have got and we agreed he wasn’t in a condition to be involved.

“I can only assess people in training and in matches, I can only control those elements.

Aston Villa Gabby Agbonlahor

“I can’t do the running, that’ll be up to Gabby, it’s his responsibility. In the last 10 days I have identified various things and that’s one of them. When I’m in this position I’m going to treat it the way I want to, if they don’t want to train properly, be part of the group or be ready to perform that’s the only sanction I’ve got.

“We’ve come to the conclusion we need to move forward with it and he’s not at the level to contribute the way he should.”

Rock bottom Villa go to Old Trafford 15 points from safety with just five games left and will be down before they kick off if Norwich avoid defeat at home to Sunderland in the early game.

The club have lost their last eight games and have won just three times in the league all season.

Black added: “The preparation won’t change. Our preparation is to beat Manchester United. This has been a slow thing. This won’t be a fall off the cliff ‘Oh my, Aston Villa have been relegated’ moment, this has been happening for some time.”

Jack Grealish (ankle) is a doubt after suffering an injury in the under-21s game on Monday while Jordan Amavi (knee) is out but Alan Hutton is available after suspension.

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