Benteke boost for Villa ahead of Sunderland clash

Aston Villa face a crucial encounter at Sunderland this weekend with Christian Benteke set to feature following a hip injury.

Christian Benteke has handed Aston Villa a fitness boost ahead of Saturday's Premier League relegation six-pointer at Sunderland.

The Belgium international striker sat out last weekend's FA Cup quarter-final victory over rivals West Brom at Villa Park with a hip complaint.

However, Benteke is set to come into contention at the Stadium of Light against a team who are just one point and one place above Villa, who are 17th.

"He's still feeling it. He'll be in the squad, we'll give him as much time as we can to get him fit, but we changed it around and the boys who came in did well," said Villa boss Tim Sherwood.

"We're not always looking for one guy. It's a team effort, we have to attack together and defend together. There is no onus on one person to score the goals.

"I don't think Christian feels the pressure, it doesn't look like it. All I need to know is when he'll be back fit and he's got an opportunity to be fit for this weekend."

Sherwood also provided a positive update on fellow forward Libor Kozak, who has been absent for over a year after breaking his leg.

"Libor is back training with the group with contact. He looks very good. He's making progress," he added.

"Hopefully in another couple of weeks he will be like a new signing for us. He needs more time with the group with contact to build the confidence in that leg."

Villa's win over West Brom booked a spot to the FA Cup semi-finals and a trip to Wembley, but the match was marred by a mass pitch invasion by the home supporters that has led to a Football Association investigation.

However, Sherwood insists the ugly scenes have not taken anything away from the triumph, which came just four days after Villa had beaten West Brom 2-1 in the Premier League to move out of the drop zone.

"It didn't take the shine off for me and the players. We just concentrate on the football side and other people can deal with the aftermath. I haven't looked into it too much," he said.

"All I'm concentrating on is focusing the boys on the next one which is Sunderland away."