Gabriel Agbonlahor likely to see out season training with reserves
Published 06/05/2016 | 22:56
Former Aston Villa club captain Gabriel Agbonlahor looks likely to see out the season training with the reserve team as Villa Park prepares to bid farewell to the Barclays Premier League.
The club recently suspended Villa's longest-serving player following the emergence of pictures showing a seemingly overweight Agbonlahor partying in the aftermath of Villa's relegation and he has been with the second string since his ban was lifted last week.
The 29-year-old academy product, who has been with Villa for two decades, has been on a personal fitness programme but will not be involved against Newcastle on Saturday in what is the final home game of the season and caretaker boss Eric Black has said it is unlikely he will feature in the final match of the campaign at Arsenal.
Asked if Agbonlahor would play again this season, Black said: "I think it would be unlikely.
" Gabby's just been training with the reserves so he won't be considered for tomorrow. He's just been training with the reserves and at the moment that's really all I'm prepared to say.
"I have spoken to him - I have not spoken personally with him, in terms of bits and pieces - but he's been training with the reserves and I believe that's ongoing."
It could be a blessing in disguise for Agbonlahor with further protests planned by fans on Saturday at Villa Park, which will not stage top flight football next season for the first time since 1987.
To avoid what would have been viewed as a slap in the face for supporters, and the possibility of insighting vitriolic outbursts, the club have sensibly decided to cancel the traditional lap of appreciation that is customary following the final home game of the season. Villa also cancelled their Player of the Year awards last month.
Following such a dismal campaign which has brought just three Premier League wins a walk of shame would be more apt and defeat against Newcastle would see Villa set an unwanted club record of 12 successive leagues losses, surpassing the figures of the 1962-63 team - who were not relegated.
Black said: "We obviously don't want that. The players are certainly aware of it because we have spoken about it but how it will affect them individually, I am not so sure. I think that will be clear in the performance.
"We spoke about it in the team meeting (against Watford last weekend) and we used other elements as well but we did use the (record) as part of it.
"And I thought the performance at Watford was a decent enough performance without getting anything from the game but we still unfortunately equalled the record.
"Now we have to ensure we are not the team that holds the record on its own."