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Shay Given eyes up Everton for Aston Villa return

IRELAND and Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given is close to returning after being sidelined for a month with a hamstring injury.

Villa boss Alex McLeish confirmed the Republic of Ireland international could be back in contention for the home Barclays Premier League clash with Everton on January 14.

McLeish said: "Shay is not far away and feels he could be ready pretty soon.

"He was champing at the bit over the festive period because he wanted to be involved.

"He could have a chance of being ready for the Everton game."

Given has impressed since his summer move from Manchester City on a five-year contract.

Brad Guzan has deputised for the 35-year-old in his absence.