Vassell out for season

Last updated : 21 January 2005 By Pancho Villa

The England player attempted a comeback for Villa's reserve side against Manchester United last week after three months on the sidelines and appeared to have come through after he scored in the 4-4 draw. But the ankle has not responded and now he has had further surgery to clean the break with David O'Leary admitting: “We don't expect to see Darius for a long time.

“The surgeon wanted to see whether he could get on with playing but some people have got different pain thresholds and Darius just can't get on with it. We won't see him for a long time.”

Vassell has been sidelined since October when he broke his ankle during the team’s 2-0 win against Fulham at Villa Park. In his absence, Carlton Cole and Juan Pablo Angel have mustered just two goals between them and the England striker’s further absence will be bitter blow for Villa, especially after missing out on James Beattie.