English Premiership

Villa drop unfit Agbonlahor

2016-04-14 18:40
Aston Villa up for sale. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/G
Aston Villa up for sale. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

London - Aston Villa captain Gabriel Agbonlahor has effectively been dropped for the relegation-threatened side's next two fixtures after being deemed unfit.

The striker will instead train with the Under-21s in a bid to get himself "back up to speed", although bottom-of-the-table Villa have just five league games left to play this season and coud be demoted from the Premier League at Manchester United on Saturday.

Agbonlahor was ruled out of last weekend's 2-1 defeat by Bournemouth after calling in sick with a virus 24 hours before the game.

It was the second straight game he missed after caretaker boss Eric Black left him out of the 4-0 loss to Chelsea as Villa investigated his conduct during a holiday to Dubai last month before taking no further action.

"After last week I sat down with Gabby on Monday and we agreed to put in place a fitness regime to get him up to speed," Black said Thursday.

"I can only control the elements I can control. I have to try to get the best out of the squad I have got and we agreed he wasn't in a condition to be involved.

"I can only assess people in training and in matches, I can only control those elements.

"I can't do the running, that'll be up to Gabby, it's his responsibility. In the last 10 days I have identified various things and that's one of them.

"When I'm in this position I'm going to treat it the way I want to, if they don't want to train properly, be part of the group or be ready to perform that's the only sanction I've got.

"We've come to the conclusion we need to move forward with it and he's not at the level to contribute the way he should."

Villa will be relegated even before they kick-off at Old Trafford if Norwich avoid defeat by Sunderland in Saturday's early top-flight match.

Villa have lost their last eight games and have won just three times in the league so far this season.

"The preparation won't change," said Black. "Our preparation is to beat Manchester United. This has been a slow thing. This won't be a fall off the cliff 'Oh my, Aston Villa have been relegated' moment, this has been happening for some time."

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