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Premier League

Aston Villa rocked by John Carew injury

Aston Villa have suffered a further injury blow with the news that striker John Carew, who had been set to deputise for Emile Heskey at Fulham this weekend, is now injured himself.

The Norway international has torn a calf muscle and joins former England forward Heskey on the sidelines. Villa announced earlier this week that Heskey would be out for up to a month with a medial ligament injury.

The club are desperately short of forward options, with Gabriel Agbonlahor having only just returned to light training after a groin operation.

Villa boss Gerard Houllier said: "Having Heskey out is a big blow because in the six games he played, he scored three goals and created some chances as well.

"His work rate was phenomenal. But the other blow is that John Carew won't be playing because he picked up an injury yesterday in training.

"He had a scan this morning and there is a slight tear of his calf which will rule him out for a minimum of three weeks, maybe four weeks.

"Gabby is still in the recovery period although for the first time today he took part in training, in the ball work.

"Emile had the operation last night and it was successful but he will maybe need another three or four weeks."

Houllier confirmed that Nathan Delfouneso will make his first Premier League start after 14 appearances as a substitute during the past three seasons.

He said: "It is an ideal opportunity for the young Nathan to step up. He will definitely be the main striker."