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Friday 27 April 2012

Fit-again Dunne hands Villa timely boost

Defender returns after broken collarbone to help club's fight against relegation

Aston Villa have won only once since defender Richard Dunne was injured in February

Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne says he is fully fit and ready to return to first-team action in a bid to help his side stay in the Barclays Premier League.

Dunne, 32, has not played since 12th February, when he suffered a broken collarbone in the 1-0 defeat at home against Manchester City.

But the Republic of Ireland international centre-back is expected to return for Villa's crunch clash with Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Satuday and he cannot wait to get back into action.

"I want to go and help and be part of helping the squad stay up"
- Richard Dunne

"I'm back in training, I'm easing my way back in and joining in with the lads," he told the club's official website. "I'm available for Saturday, we'll see what happens.

"It's been hard watching because we're all mates and you can see that the performances haven't been poor but the results haven't gone for us.

"You have to be out there trying to help people, so it is frustrating. I've made myself available because I want to go and help and be part of helping the squad stay up.

"Everyone should be excited and very determined to go out and win tackles, win headers and win everything.

"We've got to walk off the pitch on Saturday knowing we've done our jobs and hopefully got three points from it."

Dunne is set to be a part of Ireland's squad at the European Championship in the summer, but he says he is totally focused on keeping Villa in the Barclays Premier League for now.

"I'm not going to be a million per cent fit because I've not played for a while," added Dunne. "I've done a mini pre-season over the last few weeks and my shoulder is stronger than ever.

"I could go and play in a friendly for Ireland and pull my hamstring a day before the tournament, so there is no point me thinking 'I can't do this, I can't do that because I might get injured'.

"I'm back, I'm fit and I'm ready to go."

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Key Points

  • Defender Richard Dunne set to return for Aston Villa
  • Dunne has been out with a broken collarbone
  • Villa face West Brom in crucial match on Saturday