Date: 27th February 2006 at 12:30pm
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Aaron Hughes hasn’t given up on being fit for our home clash against Portsmouth next Saturday but has had to withdraw from the Northern Ireland squad for this weeks friendly.

Hughes, who picked up a calf injury against Charlton, will be in a race to re-gain his fitness with O’Leary confirming: ‘He’s definitely out of the Northern Ireland squad in midweek and he’s touch and go for next weekend.’

Villa face a defensive crisis as Olof Mellberg is suspended having picked up five yellow cards and Mark Delaney is out for up to three weeks with a knee injury.
Hughes told the official site ‘It was disappointing to have to come off and it’s disappointing to miss out on the international game. But now I’m just focussed on trying to recover in time for Saturday. The next few days will be important. I’ll have a combination of treatment and rest and we’ll see how the injury is later in the week.’

He isn’t the only one praying for his return as Jlloyd Samuel has said he would rather not have to switch to right back to cover for Hughes – as Gareth Barry would revert to left back.

‘I had to switch to right-back for the second-half and that’s just a job I had to do. I don’t enjoy it – I want to play left-back, because that where I learned my trade. That’s where I’m happiest. But every now and then, you’ve got to do these things for the team and I had to at Charlton. I just had to get on with it.’


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