Date: 14th January 2006 at 1:02pm
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Patrik Berger appears to be closing in on full fitness amidst reports he may only be a couple of weeks away from being able to step up his recuperation.

The 32 year old Czech midfielder has been told he will be able to step up his training regime soon.

The former Liverpool and Portsmouth player signed on a bosman for Villa in the summer but his appearances have been severely limited by injuries – which to be fair, was surely expected with his terrible injury record? The Czech hasn’t played since the 3-1 defeat at the hands of Man City in October.

O’Leary told the official site: ‘In two weeks’ time he should be able to do something. That will all depend on medical advice.’

Berger had feared he would need surgery but was told that wasn’t required after visiting the renowned specialist Richard Steadman who is also treated Martin Laursen, in Colorado before Christmas. Berger had explained before visiting the specialist: ‘It’s the same knee I injured at Liverpool and, after all the operations I’ve had on it, I know it will never be the same again.’

Kevin Phillips is also being treated with kid gloves – which is nice – having been out for seven weeks following ankle surgery. O’Leary explained: ‘We’re talking Spurs (21st Jan) or possibly even the FA Cup (v Port Vale 28th Jan) game before he has a chance.’