Express & Star

Tom Heaton confirms he will miss start of Aston Villa's season

Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton has confirmed he will miss the start of the new Premier League season.

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The England international, sidelined since tearing knee ligaments on New Year’s Day, returned to light training last week but is still more than a month away from completing his recovery.

Heaton expects to miss Villa’s first three fixtures but hopes to be in contention for the trip to Leicester City on October 17 following the international break.

He said: “The start of the season has unfortunately come too soon.

“It has landed a little bit fortunate in terms of the fixtures. We are not playing the first week and only have three fixtures before the international break.

“At the moment I have my eyes set on that. Whether the medics agree I am not so sure. But I think that certainly gives me enough time, eight-and-a-half weeks from now. That is what I have my sights on.”

Villa will consider signing another goalkeeper to challenge Heaton in the long-term but for the moment Jed Steer and Orjan Nyland will battle it out for the No.1 jersey on the opening day.

Heaton had been in excellent form last season before suffering the injury in a 2-1 win at Burnley, the club he left for Villa in an £8million move 12 months ago.

“The frustrating thing for me was how much I was enjoying it, coming to a new club and being in and around it,” he said.

“To watch from the sidelines is always difficult. To see the lads have a few challenges and then come through at the end was fantastic.

“From a personal point of view missing out on that I certainly have a massive appetite to get involved and help make this club successful.”