Date: 18th January 2006 at 11:38am
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Villa reserves take on local rivals Small Heath (Birmingham City for those that wonder!) at the Bescot Stadium tonight.

The good news is that Kevin Phillips is available to reserves and now Republic of Ireland coach Kevin MacDonald. Phillips, who has been out of action since undergoing surgery on his ankle, returned to full training at the beginning of this week.

Phillips told the official site (who say he had a knee injury!): ‘All being well, I should be able to take part in the reserve game against Birmingham. The gaffer has said I have to get through 90 minutes before I can be considered for a first team return, and if that’s the case, I’ll have to play it by ear. The main thing is that I’ve come through feeling fitter and stronger and if I don’t get through 90 minutes, then I’ll be looking at the Port Vale Cup game rather than the Tottenham one.’

Adding: ‘Whether I get through 90 minutes on Wednesday I don’t know because I’ve gone almost two months without playing and the extra work I’m doing won’t kill me. I’ll just have to see how it goes. I’ve got no doubts about the ankle but it’s in the last 20 minutes when you pick up niggly injuries and it’s important to take things carefully.’