Young set for derby return

Aston Villa defender Luke Young is in contention to play his first game of the season following the death of his half brother and also recovering from a thigh problem.

Young, one of Villa’s most consistent players last season, could return for the 'Second City' derby with Birmingham at St Andrew’s on Sunday.

The former England defender was one of Villa’s most consistent players last season following a £5m move from Middlesbrough.

He suffered the injury during pre-season and was then given compassionate leave to grieve his family bereavement.

Villa boss Martin O’Neill said: “Luke Young is improving his general fitness and feeling a bit stronger after his recent tragedy.

“I had a word with him and he said he is feeling a lot better. Physically he has got a bit of work to do but he is improving.

“Emotionally that is a different aspect altogether and that is something he will be able to tell you, but he is back here day to day.

“He will get an opportunity to take a day or two away any time he needs with our blessing. He has as long as he needs. We will see. We will use this wee bit of time for him to reintegrate again.”

O’Neill added: “Is the Birmingham game realistic for Luke Young? I would say at this minute physically there is no reason why it shouldn’t be.

“I know he has got a bit of work to do and it is frustrating for Luke from the physical aspect, almost being ready pre-season and then having to come out of games at a few hours’ notice.

“That is something that is a new experience for him but overall he is getting there.”

New signing Richard Dunne has returned to Villa after being excused by international coach Giovanni Trapattoni from taking part in the Republic of Ireland’s home friendly against South Africa.

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