Shock Injury Blow for Thompson (3 Jan)
Aston Villa's joy at a comfortable passage into the fourth round of the FA Cup was tempered by
 the news that key midfielder Alan Thompson will be sidelined for at least a month. 

 Villa manager John Gregory revealed that his £4million summer signing had suffered damaged
 ankle ligaments in a training ground accident on Friday. 

 It took the gloss off a convincing 3-0 home success over Hull City in which Stan Collymore scored
 twice and set up the other goal for Julian Joachim. 

 Gregory said: ``He got the injury in a bad fall. No one tackled him. He just stood in a divot and
 twisted his ankle quite badly. He could be out for at least a month.'' 

 Villa were always in command against their Third Division opponents once Collymore had broken
 the deadlock in first-half injury time. 

 And now the former Liverpool star must wait to see whether he will earn a recall to the starting
 line-up when Villa return to Premiership action against Middlesbrough next Saturday. 

 Dion Dublin was rested against the Tigers with a slight injury but will be fit to have Bryan Robson's

 Gregory said: ``It was a job well done. It was a job that needed to be done. We made heavy
 weather of it at times but Hull put up a spirited performance which, to be fair, I expected. 

 ``I was pleased for Stan and I thought it was a good chance for him to have gone home with the
 match ball. When we went 3-0 up we should have gone on and managed a couple more goals. 

 ``I'm just glad to have got out of the way a potential banana skin and a couple of sides have
 slipped up today in similar games.'' 

 Collymore was quick to dispel the mid-week speculation that he had refused to play in a practice
 match at Coventry along with Villa's other out-field substitutes from the match against Sheffield

 He said: ``They are rumours that were completely unfounded. It is a complete load of rubbish. 

 ``I am just glad we have got through into the next round of the FA Cup. The first goal gave us a
 platform to go on and win. 

 ``Hull's best chance was to disrupt our rhythm and for 20 minutes they tried their best. But after
 that we started to produce the kind of form we have shown in recent weeks.'' . 

Martin Sivorn © 1999.E-Mail Me