Aston Villa fans have been buoyed recently by the news that Jores Okore would be returning from injury sooner than expected. There have also been rumblings that Charles N'Zogbia - who hurt his Achilles while jogging in July - would make it back before season's end. Yesterday, though, Paul Lambert cast serious doubt on the midfielder's return in the current campaign, according to Mat Kendrick of the Birmingham Mail. Apparently the Achilles injury that N'Zogbia suffered isn't healing nearly as quickly as Okore's cruciate ligament injury is, and the setback means that Villa will probably not be getting an injection of new blood in the midfield after all.
N'Zogbia was always a bit of a long-shot to return this season, and it wasn't even clear that he would be helpful if he did. He came in during the 2011 summer window under Alex McLeish on a £9.5 million fee, and despite the success he had at Wigan that prompted the move, the French midfielder has never quite lived up to his potential at Villa. It's easy to argue that, at this point, practically anything would help in the club's midfield, but we've seen very little from N'Zogbia in his time in Birmingham to give hope that he actually would.
Hopefully he can return over the summer and work his way back into the squad. It's in Villa's best interests to see him helping regularly, as he either can become a regular feature on the team or be sold on. Otherwise he is more dead weight, as his contract runs through the 2015-16 season.