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Friday 30 September 2016

Shay Given winning FA Cup fitness battle as he returns to Villa training

Nick Mashiter

Published 28/05/2015 | 15:06

Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given
Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given

Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given is winning his fitness fight to be ready for the FA Cup final.

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The keeper missed Sunday's 1-0 defeat to Burnley with a groin injury but has returned to training before Saturday's Wembley showdown with Arsenal.

Kieran Richardson (calf), Aly Cissokho (groin) and Jores Okore (knee) are also back in training to boost Tim Sherwood's numbers.

The boss admitted Given was a doubt for the final but is now in contention to feature again.

He said: "He trained today so we're hopeful he'll be alright. But the nature of this club is you can't hold your breath. We're training tomorrow so we're likely to lose two or three.

"I've not yet made my decision on the keeper. Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you then.

"Kieran trained today, Cissokho is fit and Okore trained for the first time today.

"If everyone's fit we could play the same team as the semi-finals."

Villa are heading to their first FA Cup final for 15 years and have not won the trophy since 1957. They beat Liverpool 2-1 in the semi-final last month and Sherwood insisted his side are not just in it for a day out.

"It's a huge occasion for everyone involved and it's a huge honour to be taking them to Wembley," he said.

"But no-one ever remembers the bridesmaids, no-one remembers who loses in a cup final."

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