Football: Merson waiting for verdict on back injury

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THE ASTON Villa player Paul Merson has admitted that he may need a injection similar to the kind Tony Adams had recently if there is no improvement to his back complaint. Any such treatment could keep him out for another two months.

Merson, a key figure in Villa's Premiership title challenge since his pounds 6.75m signing from Middlesbrough in September, has already been out for a fortnight with the injury and last week received a second opinion by John Webb, a leading authority on back injuries.

Now Merson is facing an anxious wait of just over a week to determine whether or not the injection will be needed if he is to return to full fitness. Merson, who first encountered the problem while on England duty in October, said: "I shall go back to see the specialist in about a week's time and he will tell me more then.

"It is very frustrating for me with Aston Villa currently going for the title. That's the one thing I really want to win this season."