sport

Kozak on the comeback trail

Aston Villa are optimistic that Libor Kozak will return from a broken leg in time to play a full part in pre-season.

The 24-year-old striker has been sidelined since suffering the unfortunate injury in a training ground collision with Ciaran Clark in January.

He has since undergone surgery and eased his way through a rehabilitation programme.

Kozak has been making positive progress and the 6million signing from Lazio could be welcomed back into Paul Lambert's plans at the start of the summer.

"Libor is doing great," Lambert told Villa's website.

"He is off the crutches now. I think he's in a much happier place within himself now as well.

"The thing with Libor is he's a top boy so you know that, with his rehabilitation, he'll knuckle down.

"He'll not cut any corners. He'll have good days and bad days because of the mental stress of it but he will do his utmost to get fit.

"He's on course, certainly. We're hoping that by pre-season, he'll not be too far away. Libor is definitely doing well.

"He was down when the whole thing happened and for a few weeks after that.

"But I saw him the other day and we were having a chat. I think coming off the crutches has been a major step considering the amount of time he was on them."

Another man working his way back to full fitness is Jores Okore, with it possible that the Danish defender could return from a ruptured cruciate ligament before the end of the season.

Lambert added: "I'll have to wait and see.

"He's training with the fitness lads, but he's not done any contact work or anything like that.

"If we can get him back and he's feeling good, then I think it's right to give him some part of the game then I'll look at it - but it could be another month."