Further Blow for Thompson (8 Jan)
Aston Villa midfielder Alan Thompson has dealt John Gregory another massive injury blow with
 the news that he will be out of action for two months with his damaged ankle ligaments. 

 Villa manager Gregory had been optimistic that Thompson would be back in action within four
 weeks after suffering the injury in a freak training ground incident last Friday. 

 But the £4.5million capture from Bolton admitted that he is unlikely to be ready for a return to
 action until March. 

 It was news that Gregory could have done without on the day that another midfielder Mark
 Draper admitted he will need ankle surgery to cure a year long problem. 

 Thompson admitted: ``I have come off crutches and can move around but it will be two months
 before I will be back playing again. 

 ``It is so frustrating because it happend in such a daft way with me putting my foot in a pot-hole at
 the training ground. 

 ``It's also a blow because I had been happy with my form after coming back into the team after
 being left out for three or four matches. 

 ``This is the last thing I could have done with as Villa are going for the title and everyone wants to
 play their full part.'' 

 Gregory's plight is such that Draper will have to delay surgery for a fortnight to allow Paul Merson
 to recover from the back problem which has dogged him since October. 

 Draper will be asked to play through the pain barrier against Middlesbrough on Saturday and
 Everton on January 18 by which time Gregory is banking on Merson being fit to return. 

Martin Sivorn © 1999.E-Mail Me