Aston Villa may begin the new Premiership season without Juan Pablo Angel as the Colombian’s recovery from knee surgery is taking longer than expected.

Angel, who recently signed a new four-year deal at the Midlands club, underwent the surgery over the summer, but problems with his rehabilitation mean he will probably miss Villa’s friendly with Swedish club Jonkoping Sodra at the weekend.

Manager David O’Leary said the striker must play in the friendly if he were to figure in Villa’s Premiership opener against Southampton on August 14.

“We’re way off where he should be and need him up to speed,” said O’Leary. “I think he’s still feeling that injury and it’s in the back of his mind.”

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