No surgery for Villa skipper

Petrov suffered lateral knee ligament damage during the first half

of the Premier League clash with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light

last weekend. The Bulgaria international will concentrate on

rehabilitation work to recover from the setback, but Villa manager

Gerard Houllier is resigned to being without the 31-year-old until

the new year. The Frenchman confirmed: “We thought Stiliyan would

need an operation. He won’t need an operation. “But the time for

recovery will still be the same – between eight and 12 weeks.”

Houllier has received mixed injury news regarding his full-backs

ahead of Sunday’s derby clash with Birmingham. Luke Young has

recovered from a hamstring problem which has sidelined him for the

past three matches and has been included in the squad, but Habib

Beye, who has replaced the former England defender, is rated

doubtful with an ankle injury.