Aston Villa winger James Milner is battling to recover from illness in time for Saturday's home Premier League clash with Bolton.

Villa's record signing was below his best with the flu in Sunday's 3-2 away win at Everton.

The £12million capture from Newcastle is still struggling but Villa boss Martin O'Neill is hoping the England Under-21 player will be ready to face Gary Megson's side.

O'Neill said: "James has had a virus, the same flu bug which has hit a few people at the club like Nigel Reo-Coker and Nicky Shorey, and he did really brilliantly to play at Everton at the weekend.

"He is pretty washed out at the moment but we are hoping, with a few days rest, he will be okay."

Villa will again be without striker John Carew and O'Neill is hoping rest and treatment, rather than surgery, will be sufficient to solve a back complaint.

The Norwegian international has been sidelined for the past three matches after the problem flared up last month.

But O'Neill is adamant the former Lyon player will not be rushed back into action until he is fully fit. He said: "We think this course of action we are taking is the right thing to do so we will see.

"I am not exactly sure when he will be thinking about getting back.  Will he be available for the Christmas programme? I really don't know and it is not going to be one of those things where he is going to be rushed into doing something."