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The Danish centre-back, a summer signing from FC Nordsjaelland, has not featured since September but is ahead of schedule in his recovery and nearing a return to the matchday squad

Jores Okore is nearing a return from his long-term knee injury, according to Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert.

The 21-year-old defender has been sidelined since September 14, having been forced off with ruptured ligaments after half an hour of his side's 2-1 defeat to Newcastle.

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However, Lambert has been impressed by the Dane's recovery, and believes he could be back in action sooner than originally expected.

"Jores is doing great at the minute," Lambert said on the club's official website. "I think he is in a good place at the moment with his knee.

"Hopefully with a bit of luck he won't be too far off.

"He won't be in the squad for a few weeks but he's come back quicker than we actually thought.

There was also positive news regarding striker Libor Kozak, who broke his leg in training last month.

"Kozak is doing well too from his point of view," Lambert continued. "So the long-term ones are starting to get there but it's still a bit too early."

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