Villa ace in fitness race

McLeish hopeful England ace will be fit to play

Bent: Villa will be working as hard as possible to have striker available to face Everton

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Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has conceded that striker Darren Bent is 'touch and go' to face Everton this weekend.

The England international is sitting out Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier with Wales at Wembley due to a groin injury.

McLeish is eager for the ex-Sunderland man to line up against Everton and the club will be working around the clock to ensure he is fit.

The Villa boss is crossing his fingers the 27-year-old will have recovered enough to be available for Saturday's trip to Goodison Park.

Touch and go

"It is touch and go, there is no doubt about that, because he is going to miss the England game," McLeish told the club's official website.

"We will be working around the clock to try and get him fit for the Everton game.

"But at this moment he is injured and that is the fact. You never know by the weekend.

"We don't think it is too serious and it is not going to keep him out for a while but hopefully he'll still be available for the weekend."