McLeish confident of Ciaran Clark’s return after clash

Alex McLeish is confident that Ciaran Clark will be fit for the rest of Aston Villa’s Premier League campaign.

The defender was forced off during Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester United with a head injury, having initially chosen to play on after colliding with Patrice Evra.

22-year-old Clark does not appear to have sustained any long-term damage, and McLeish expects to have him available for next Saturday’s game at home to Sunderland.

“Ciaran took a head knock but I don’t believe there was concussion,” McLeish said.

“He has had stitches but he should be OK. Hopefully he is able to train this week and we will try to sharpen him up.”

The Villa boss also revealed that the squad have been boosted by a visit to the training ground by captain Stiliyan Petrov, who has recently started treatment for leukaemia.

“Stan is good,” McLeish said. “He was at training and looks great. He has had a new haircut – it suits him. It looks fantastic.

“He was having a laugh with the players. We think the world of Stan and I am sure he will be there to rally the players in the coming games.”

McLeish has called on his players to pick themselves up and is targeting an immediate improvement in the wake of their defeat at Old Trafford.

“We have three cup finals coming up so the players have to stop feeling sorry for themselves and start recovering immediately.

“The plan is to secure our Premier League status and move forward from that.

“We have to improve. The last two seasons have not been good enough for Aston Villa’s name in this game.”