Milner faces race against time

19 February 2009 08:03
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill hopes James Milner will have recovered from a thigh injury in time to face Chelsea at the weekend. The former Newcastle United and Leeds star missed Wednesday's UEFA Cup draw with CSKA Moscow because of the problem and faces a race against time to be fit enough to feature against Guus Hiddink's side. O'Neill said: "We had an injury to James. He had a better chance of playing on Saturday by missing the UEFA Cup game. "James wants to play every game but I took the doctor's advice and left him out. He has a thigh problem. If he'd played on Wednesday, he'd have been a doubt for the weekend." Meanwhile, O'Neill is aware that his side face a tough task in Moscow if they are to progress to the next stage of the UEFA Cup following the 1-1 draw against the Russian side at Villa Park in the first leg. He said: "We still have a chance. It will be difficult because they have an away goal. We will have to score obviously but it isn't impossible. "People talk about effort and endeavour but I take exception about that being mentioned every week. "We have some really, really quality players performing for this football club. They are tremendously gifted. "Ashley (Young) delivers the sort of ball that makes me wish I was still playing. I would score 29 goals per season. He is putting in seriously brilliant deliveries. "You don't have to do anything special to score from them. He is an exceptional deliverer. "Stiliyan (Petrov) was outstanding and Gareth (Barry) too. I thought Gabby (Agbonlahor), coming off the centre-half to go short and collect, was brilliant as well. He is still developing. You can see the improvement in the team."

Source: ESA

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0