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
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

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most