Carew nears Villa return

The Norway international played an hour for the reserves in Monday
afternoon’s clash with West Brom at Bodymoor Heath. Carew has been
Villa’s leading scorer for the past three seasons but has failed to
find the net during an injury-hit start to the current campaign. He
was troubled by a back problem before being laid low with the calf
setback three weeks ago after appearing as a substitute against
Birmingham. It is another boost for Villa boss Gerard Houllier who
has to contend with a lengthy injury list since he replaced Martin
O’Neill. Gabriel Agbonlahor recently returned to action after a six
week lay-off following groin surgery. Houllier’s first signing,
Robert Pires, also played for an hour against Albion. The former
Arsenal midfielder had appeared as a second half substitute in
Sunday’s Premier League clash with Blackburn at Ewood Park. The two
slices of action inside 24 hours are the first for Pires since
playing for his previous club, Villarreal, in May.