O'Neill: Future in Laursen's hands

Martin O’Neill will leave it entirely in the hands of crocked Aston Villa skipper Martin Laursen to decide on his future.

Laursen has seen a specialist after suffering the latest in a long line of knee setbacks, which has ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

There has been speculation the 30-year-old may be forced to hang up his boots.

But O’Neill will allow Laursen to make up his own mind on whether to quit or to attempt yet another comeback.

O’Neill said: “The news on him is not great. Martin is deliberating on what to do. We were hoping that he could recover but he is having a tough time.

“But he will make the decision and, whatever decision he comes to, I will respect with the utmost regard.

“He has already seen a specialist and now has to make up his mind.”

Laursen has not played since the home encounter with West Brom in early January.

The former AC Milan player had been on target to return against Manchester United in early April but suffered a setback during Villa’s training break in Dubai.

Meanwhile, striker Gabriel Agbonlahor could return for Saturday’s trip to Bolton after missing last weekend’s clash against West Ham with a hamstring problem.

O’Neill said: “Gabby has done a little bit of training. He’s feeling a wee bit better. We will see how he develops during the course of the week.

“We are hoping he might have a chance (for the weekend) but we’re not sure yet. He’s a quick healer so we’re hopeful.”

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