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Bellamy blow for Hughes bid

Craig Bellamy training 0809

Craig Bellamy training 0809

Craig Bellamy and Robinho have both been ruled out of tomorrow's home Premier League clash against Aston Villa after picking up injuries in the weekend defeat at West Ham.

The double blow to Mark Hughes' plans for Champions League chasers Aston Villa means the Blues, keen to get back to winning ways, will be short of key players against one of the best away sides in the division.


Striker Bellamy, who has made an immediate impact since signing from West Ham in January, needs a further scan on his damaged knee but manager Hughes admitted that the "best-case scenario" is already two to three weeks out.

The relatively good news for City is that Bellamy, who has needed knee surgery in the past including a career-saving operation at Newcaastle, is not suffering a recurrence of an old injury.

Hughes said: "It's not an old injury. It needed to be allowed to settle down for 48 hours before we can look at the extent of it. It's the patella, he's torn fibres in his knee. Best case scenario is two to three weeks."

Robinho damaged ligaments above his ankle at Upton Park but Hughes is hopeful that the Brazilian star will be fit to start next week's home UEFA Cup tie against Aalborg, City having a free weekend because of the FA Cup.

Bellamy's absence will clearly be a blow. Hughes said: "Since he came to the club he's carried the fight for us. He's going to be a big miss. Against a team like Villa you need as many of your top players available as possible."

Valeri Bojinov comes into the frame after his cameo return off the bench at West Ham, but the Bulgaria striker is nowhere near the match fitness required to sustain a 90-minute shift against a leading Premier League side.

Hughes said: "Unfortunately his career hit the buffers because of injuries but we are delighted he's back. We can't put too much pressure on him, but if he stays fit he can establish himself as a top Premier League player."

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