ALEX MCLEISH IS staying positive after watching goalkeeper Shay Given limp out of Aston Villa’s defeat against Manchester United on Saturday.
The Donegal stopper tweaked his left hamstring shortly before half-time in the 1-0 loss when he rushed out of his area to clear a long ball into the stands.
Although Given tried to play on, it quickly became clear that he was unable to put any weight on the leg and he was carried back to the dressing room with Brad Guzan coming on in his place.
Villa face a busy festive schedule with five matches in the space of 15 days over Christmas and New Year, including home games against Liverpool and Arsenal and a trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea.
Initial estimates suggested that Given could find himself sidelined for four weeks which would rule him out of the full Christmas programme.
But speaking to Sky Sports yesterday, McLeish said that the injury might not be as serious as it initially appeared and that Given could be back in action sooner rather than later.
I’m not sure but I think Shay had a little tweak in his hamstring. Hopefully it’s a grade one (tear) and will heal really quickly.
Brad Guzan can be proud of the way he came in in those circumstances.
McLeish’s update will come as a relief to Giovanni Trapattoni and the Republic of Ireland.
Following Friday’s draw for the Euro 2012 group stages, the FAI confirmed that Ireland will face the Czech Republic in a warm-up friendly at the end of February and Given’s services are unlikely to be required by the national team until shortly before then.