Warnock doubt for Carling Cup final

Warnock has missed Villa’s last two Premier League games with

Arsenal and Fulham after being substituted early in the second half

of the FA Cup clash with Brighton on January 23 with a shin injury.

Now he will have to rest up for a further two weeks, after seeing a

specialist, before a further assessment is made. Villa will meet

Manchester United in the final at Wembley on February 28 – barely a

week after Warnock is checked out again. Warnock has played a key

role in a revamped back four alongside James Collins and Richard

Dunne in helping Villa challenge for a Champions League spot since

his £7million move from Blackburn during the summer. He has

also emerged as a candidate to be the number two left-back to

Ashley Cole in Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad. Villa boss Martin

O’Neill said: “Stephen will have to rest for a while. We will have

a look and see how he is in a couple of weeks. That is what the

specialist has said. “We will have to see if it will settle down.

Obviously, he’s desperate to be playing. It’s disappointing because

he’s been brilliant for us. “Stephen, James Collins and Richard

Dunne have given us an enormous boost. “Their ability, their

character – everything about them – has been excellent. “They love

to play and they’ve also built up a really decent understanding.

Taking all that into consideration it (Warnock’s injury) is a blow.

“Obviously it is worrying for Stephen and he has done so much to

get us there to the cup final. It would be devastating if he missed

that.”