After a two month injury lay-off Aston Villa midfielder Chris Herd is close to full fitness. The Australian, who recently signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract at Villa, is now stepping up his rehabilitation work. Villa boss Alex McLeish said: "Herd is making very good progress. He is now working one to one with the physio who is putting him through his paces.

"He is not feeling his injury at all now which is great news and the kid is really positive about getting himself fit again to try and challenge to get back into the team.

"He was doing really well before the injury."

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