Injury boost for Villa

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Thomas Hitzlsperger is hoping to return to action in Sunday's Second City clash with Birmingham.

Aston Villa take on their fierce rivals at Villa Park on Sunday, and the German midfielder is eager to play in the big derby clash.

Hitzlsperger has been struggling with a thigh strain but he has returned to training and is hoping to be fit for Sunday.

"Things are coming along nicely as far as the injury goes and I don't see any reason why I should not be fit for Sunday," Hitzlsperger told the club website.

"I trained yesterday, although not with the rest of the team and things went fine. I feel good and I'll be looking to step things up today (Wednesday).

"I'm very hopeful of being involved, because these are the games every player wants to play in."

With Lee Hendrie suspended and Gavin McCann struggling with a knee problem, Hitzlsperger's recovery is a welcome boost for David O'Leary ahead of the big match.

Aston Villa 5/6 Draw 11/5 Birmingham 3/1; Hitzlsperger to score first 12/1 -
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