Berger breaks down

Dogged by injury problems since moving from Portsmouth during the summer, the former Czech international had only just returned to action after knee surgery. "Patrik was out there training but he had to stop," said David O'Leary. "He's been to see the surgeon because we don't want to take any chances and we will see what develops."

Rumours abound that the injury to the pirate-like veteran, so close to pantomime season, seems a bit suspicious, but Tubbs was keen to play it down. "That is a load of rubbish," he said. "I don't want to say any more because such speculation doesn't deserve any more." Oh, actually, that was his response to news that the club's record signing, Juan Pablo Angel, could be allowed to leave Villa in the January transfer window.