Date: 21st December 2005 at 5:54pm
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The rock at the back of Aston Villa’s defence, otherwise known as Olof Mellberg, is targeting the local derby against West Bromwich Albion on 2nd January 2006 as his comeback date.

O’Leary feared the team captain would miss all of the Christmas fixture list with a hamstring tear, but he now has a chance of making the game at the Hawthorns. Welcome news for the under pressure manager as he has been told there will be no funds for the January transfer window (big shock!) despite Villa only have one fit centre back!

O’Leary told the official site: ‘The original diagnosis was that Olof would be back for the FA Cup game with Hull but he now has an outside chance of being fit for the West Brom game. We’ve been living on our nerves at the back because of the shortage of numbers in central defence and Olof was in good form before the injury.’

Phillips on the other hand is still not ready for a return but may be fit in time for the FA Cup clash against Hull on January 7th.