Sport Soccer

Sunday 22 April 2018

Injury woes for MacDonald

Aston Villa caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald has fresh injury concerns ahead of his team's Europa League play-off second leg against Rapid Vienna tonight.

Three of the defenders who started the 6-0 defeat at Newcastle on Sunday are unavailable. Richard Dunne and Luke Young both have what MacDonald describes as "little niggles", while Stephen Warnock and Stewart Downing are being rested after playing three games in nine days.

Villa welcome back James Collins, Carlos Cuellar and Gabriel Agbonlahor, all of whom played 45 minutes of a behind-closed-doors friendly against Burton Albion on Monday. The trio are yet to make a competitive appearance this season.

MacDonald has not revealed whether he will stick with the inexperienced side that achieved a 1-1 draw in Vienna, or call upon more senior players to try to finish the job.

"I've thought about throwing more of the youngsters in," he said. "They performed very well in a very hostile atmosphere (in Vienna).

"I've also thought about playing a few more of the senior players. But whatever team I put out, the big point for us is that we actually qualify and get through the tie.

"Whether it's youngsters, whether it's seniors, that is the most important thing. I'm thinking about both sides, but I can't tell you the team yet."

Aston Villa v Rapid Vienna,

Live, ITV4, 7.45

Irish Independent

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