Date: 24th July 2009 at 12:26pm
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According to the Express & Star, 31-year-old left-back Wilfred Bouma might be fit for the start of the season.

The talk not so long ago was suggesting he might be forced to retire but the latest update from Martin O’Neill shows the player is back in training and things are going ok, albeit slowly.

The Dutchman picked up an awful ankle injury last July in the Intertoto Cup third-round game v Odense at Villa Park. It was bloody horrible, I was right in line with it and thought his foot was set to snap off the angle it was at and all from a freak accident, it wasn’t as if anyone had put in a bad tackle, he just seemed to get his boot stuck and went over on his ankle.

O’Neill told the Express and Star: ‘He is back training. He is pretty happy with proceedings and it’s just taking a bit more time. He had that setback but seems to have recovered from that.
I reckon he might be back some time in August, but please don’t hold me to that.’

Meanwhile, and I don’t see this as a new story to be honest, it was quoted on this site ages ago before we bought him…. anyhow… It appears that Villa might have to wait until Christmas for the appearance of Stewart Downing our summer arrival from Middlesbrough.

Before anyone starts moaning (!) why not just count him as a January transfer window signing? If we’d waited for him to get fit, the price would probably have been 50% more, so we just grabbed him when the opportunity arose?

The report in the Birmingham Mail suggests it has just been discovered he’ll not be fit until November / December but Gareth Southgate said that at least a month ago!

Downing told them that the target will be late on in November or early December. ‘If I’m ready before then that’s a bonus, if it’s after then it just needs time to heal.’ He has a pin in his foot (broken via a tackle by Stiliyan Petrov whoops!) which should be removed in September, then he has to build up.

He also says despite wanting to play before Christmas, Martin O’Neill is more interested in having the player ‘100% right’.

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