James Collins' Aston Villa fitness race

Aston Villa were today working to get defender James Collins fit for Saturday’s trip to Manchester City - after using a piece of meat to get him through training.

Aston Villa were today working to get defender James Collins fit for Saturday’s trip to Manchester City - after using a piece of meat to get him through training.

Collins pulled out of the Wales squad for their Euro 2012 qualifiers against Switzerland and Bulgaria with a foot injury and has undergone treatment at Bodymoor Heath over the past week.

And assistant boss Peter Grant revealed that the club’s medical staff had tried putting a thick slice of steak in the 28-year-old centre-back’s sock to enable him to participate in training.

Grant said: “We were panicking a bit with James because he had injured his foot and it was quite bad – it was like an elephant’s foot. He was training with a steak in his boot believe it or not!

"We thought we would try it because it has been used in Germany recently. He didn’t play with it, because we were worried it might get a bit hot and start cooking!"

[24link]