Villa handed big fitness boost ahead of play-off final

Aston Villa defender Ahmed Elmohamady is making good progress in his recovery from injury and stands a good chance of playing in the Championship play-off final.

Villa stand on the brink of a return to the Premier League as they face Fulham at Wembley on Saturday and the 30-year-old is a player boss Steve Bruce would dearly like available.

Elmohamady was absent for the second leg of the semi-final at home to Middlesbrough last week after suffering a hamstring injury in the first game at the Riverside and there were fears he could also miss the showpiece at the national stadium for Aston Villa.

However, things are looking much more positive after the Egyptian resumed training.

“He trained today and yesterday and we will see how he is tomorrow and then we will give him every chance,” said Bruce on Wednesday afternoon.

“We will give him another thorough work out on Friday because one thing going into a play-off final, or any game at Wembley, if you’re not 100 per cent then it’s a big, sapping pitch. He has trained the last two days so he has got a chance.”

Elmohamady has been in fine form this season and so it will be a blow if he is forced to miss out, leaving Bruce needing to shuffle the pack.

If he does not make it then James Bree is likely to fill in, as he did against Middlesbrough for the goalless second leg at Villa Park which clinched Villa’s passage to the final.


Bruce on Fulham

aston villa boss steve bruce 3

Bruce, who has no other injury problems ahead of the game, thinks the game at Wembley is too close to call.

Fulham finished a place and five points above Villa in the final Championship table, with both teams managing a win apiece in their meetings during the regular season.

“How can you call it?” said Bruce. “Fulham are favourites? They’re always wrong the bookies! It will be close. We are all looking forward to it.”


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