Gary McAllister has backed Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker in the wake of potential legal action from Gary O'Neil over a career-threatening injury.
The West Ham man has been given a 50 per cent chance of playing again after being stretchered from the field following a tackle from Reo-Coker in a 2-1 win for Villa earlier this month.
There are serious concerns O'Neil may not be able to play again after undergoing a two-hour operation on Wednesday to repair the ligament damage suffered in the ex-Middlesbrough man's ankle.
O'Neil is thought to be considering legal action, however, McAllister, who knows the midfielder following their time together at Boro, does not believe there was any malice in the challenge.
Villa's No.2 has seen video replays of the tackle and feels it was Reo-Coker's follow-through that caught O'Neil and that it was indeed a 'good' tackle.
"I am surprised. I know Gary O'Neil quite well," said McAllister.
"I worked with him at Boro so, when I saw that the knock he got was bad, I got our video guys to show me the challenge.
"I've got to say it's a good tackle and it's the follow-through of Gary O'Neil which catches the base of Nigel's boot, where I think the problem comes from.
"Nigel clearly gets the ball. He's come from the side, not from the back and I just don't think Gary O'Neil's seen him.
"It was just the sharpness of the tackle and just the follow-through has caught the underside of Nigel's boot.
"I think Nigel can rest assured it was a good tackle."