Mikel Arteta slides in to win the ball from QPR's Joey Barton Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Holiday Time

Out of season: Bent and Arteta to watch Premier League climax from the sidelines

The Arsenal midfielder and Aston Villa striker are cursing injuries as the vital fixtures arrive thick and fast

ASTON VILLA STRIKER Darren Bent is back training with the relegation threatened club but he will not appear in the claret and blue again this season.

The England international’s dreams of making it to Euro 2012 have been boosted after a specialist gave him the all clear to resume running. However, the news that left him “buzzing” may not similarly enthuse the Villa faithful.

Alex McLeish’s men are six points clear of the relegation places but 18th place Bolton have a match in hand. The two sides will meet at Villa Park on Tuesday, April 24.

Bent, who last appeared for his club on February 25, contributed nine goals in 22 Premier League outings this season. Villa have only managed 35 goals in 33 league matches and the next highest scorer is Gabriel Agbonlahor with five.

Club captain, Martin Petrov scored four times this season. The Bulgarian has taken an indefinite break from the game after being diagnosed with leukaemia but appeared at a Villa training session this week to speak with teammates. First team-coach Gordon Cowans commented:

He took his hat off and has shaved his hair and looked very well. He is very positive he is going to beat the illness.

Midfield shortage for Arsenal

An ankle ligament injury has done for Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta’s season. The Spaniard had been in a rich vein of form for the Gunners on their push for a Champions League place.

Arteta rolled his ankle during his side’s 2-1 defeat to Wigan at the Emirates. Scans revealed that their was no break but ligament damage that will take at least two months to heal.

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger will shuffle his midfield pack for the team’s ‘massive and vital’ weekend encounter with Chelsea. Aaron Ramsey is likely to feature in centre midfield.

‘Make sure you enjoy it’ – O’Shea’s message to Irish squad

50 days to Euro 2012: USSR clinch inaugural tournament in extra-time