Carew an injury doubt for Villa's Cup semi-final date

In-form striker's back pain is untimely return of problem that ruled him out last season

Aston Villa striker John Carew is worried about his chances of being fit for his side's FA Cup semi-final showdown with Chelsea.

Carew is suffering with a back injury that saw him leave Stamford Bridge in pain on Saturday following the humiliating 7-1 Premier League loss to the Blues.

That was after the Norwegian had scored an equaliser, which eventually proved to be Villa's consolation, to take his superb scoring streak to nine goals in his last eight appearances.

The problem is a recurrence of an injury that forced Carew on to the sidelines last season, and could leave the 30-year-old fighting to be fit for not only Saturday's trip to Bolton, but the Wembley date with Chelsea on April 10.

"I tried to continue, but after the break it felt like I had two knives in the side of my back," said Carew on the injury that saw him come off after 63 minutes.

Speaking to The Birmingham Mail, he added: "The pains can come and go, and now they seem to be back. I will be examined and treated in Birmingham, and the next 48 hours will determine how long I will be out."

Aston Villa sources have dismissed reports which claimed manager Martin O'Neill had quit the midlands club.

Radio and internet reports suggested O'Neill had decided to end his four-year reign at Villa Park following disagreements with club owner Randy Lerner over his transfer budget for next season.

O'Neill's odds to be the next Barclays Premier League manager to leave his post were slashed from 66-1 to 7-1. Villa are unwilling to comment officially on reports which they are adamant are wide of the mark. But sources close to the club are adamant the claims O'Neill has opted to leave are "pure nonsense".

O'Neill spent heavily last summer in bringing in the likes of James Milner (£12m), Stephen Warnock (£7m), Richard Dunne (£6million), Fabian Delph (£6m) James Collins (£5m) and Habib Beye (£3m).

He recouped £12m of this outlay from the sale of Gareth Barry to Manchester City.

But in January O'Neill admitted he had to adhere to a "sell to buy" policy if he was to bring in new players during that transfer window.

And he did not add to his squad and sold midfielder Craig Gardner to local rivals Birmingham for £3m.

O'Neill has admitted that Villa do not have the strength in depth of the established leading clubs in the top flight.

And his squad is now being stretched to the limit because of injuries to Dunne, John Carew, Emile Heskey and Gabriel Agbonlahor, James Milner and Stiliyan Petrov with several of them playing when not 100 per cent fit.

There has also been no public response from Lerner as to how much money – if any – O'Neill will have to bolster his playing strength this summer.

But chances of obtaining a Champions League spot – and its financial riches – have foundered.

Villa are now seven points adrift of fourth placed Tottenham after the 7-1 loss at Chelsea on Saturday – their first league defeat of 2010.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk