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Thursday, September 6, 2012
Fit-again Agbonlahor raring to go

Ian Edwards

Gabriel Agbonlahor is determined to force his way back into an Aston Villa side with plenty of competition for striking places after recovering from a knee injury ahead of schedule.

Agbonlahor, 25, is Villa's longest-serving player but is under pressure for his place in Paul Lambert's side following the 7 million signing of Belgium international Christian Benteke.

Jordan Bowery's arrival from Chesterfield for 1 million on transfer deadline day, added further competition for a starting berth in Lambert's front line.

But Agbonlahor has recovered two weeks ahead of schedule from a knee injury sustained during pre-season and is relishing the scramble to be part of the Villa side to face Swansea after the international break.

"It's not a great experience doing your rehab and not being able to make a contribution, but I am fit and ready now and really raring to go," he said. "From my perspective, too, it's good to come back before schedule and to be available to the manager."

The England international injured his knee in a tackle during the second game of Villa's pre-season tour of America, against MLS club Chicago Fire.

And he is eager to make up for lost time after a substitute appearance against Newcastle last weekend. "It feels good to be back. It's been a tough five or six weeks being out and watching the boys start the season, but it's good to be fit again now," he said.

"I think every season that I've been playing I've always been available for the first game, so it was a bit of a shock to be out.

"It's always frustrating being injured at whatever point of the season and not being able to help the lads. But it was more frustrating for me because it was the beginning of the season when you're raring to go."

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