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Utility man Chris joins Herd of injured defenders; TEAM NEWS.

CHRIS Herd is the latest player to fall foul of Villa's recent central defensive injury curse as Villa head to Sunderland.

Herd sustained a knee problem against Swindon, meaning Ron Vlaar is again the only specialist centre-half definitely available for the trip to the Stadium of Light.

Of the other injured defenders, Ciaran Clark (knee) would seem to have the best chance of recovering in time, although manager Paul Lambert has reported that Nathan Baker (ankle) and Richard Dunne (groin) are also improving. Otherwise it leaves right-back Matt Lowton as the last fill-in centre-back standing.

Joe Bennett is in line to return at leftback after serving a one-match ban for his sending off against Norwich.

Karim El Ahmadi is suspended for the match against Martin O'Neill's men after picking up his fifth booking of the season in the Capital One Cup win at Swindon. Fabian Delph and Brett Holman, who were among the subs in midweek, are expected to be restored to the starting line-up, while Brad Guzan is likely to be back in goal after Shay Given played in the cup tie at the County Ground.

The goalscoring form of Christian Benteke will almost certainly leave Darren Bent on the bench again on his return to another former club, especially as Gabby Agbonlahor was also on target in Tuesday evening's dramatic win.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 2, 2012
Words:227
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