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Villa check on Ireland
Aston Villa will check on the fitness of midfielder Stephen Ireland ahead of the Barclays Premier League clash at Stoke.
Ireland suffered a hamstring injury during the warm-up to the Everton clash a fortnight ago and was replaced by Nigel Reo-Coker. Midfielder Steve Sidwell could come into contention after playing 90 minutes for the reserves in midweek following his recovery from an Achilles injury.
Defender James Collins is expected to be fit after suffering a severe black eye when on duty for Wales against Montenegro last weekend. Kevin MacDonald will be in charge as caretaker manager for the final time before Gerard Houllier officially takes command.
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