Forgotten man Michael Bradley still has a chance to convince Villa he deserves a permanent deal at the club, according to caretaker boss Gary McAllister.
Bradley has just 88 minutes’ action to his name since arriving on loan in January with a 17-minute sub cameo at Blackpool and 71 minutes in his only start at Manchester City.
The American midfielder has not even made it into Villa’s matchday squad of 18 in the past four games since being an unused substitute in the defeats to Bolton and Wolves.
But McAllister, in temporary charge of team affairs during Gerard Houllier’s sick leave, has offered the on-loan Borussia Monchengladbach player a glimmer of hope of staying at Villa.
Villa have first refusal on the 23-year-old USA international, having agreed an undisclosed fee with his German Bundesliga club as part of his five-month loan agreement.
McAllister revealed that Bradley has impressed sufficiently in reserve games and on the practice pitches to potentially keep the move alive and could be involved during Villa’s final four games.
“We are aware of these things,” said McAllister. “If we had got ourselves into a better position earlier in the season, then certain people would have got more game time.
“But we’re still very much aware that we need to keep this run going and when a team does well you don’t want to be making big changes, or changing things for the sake of it.
“With four games to go it is something that Gerard and I will be speaking about because there are two or three guys in the same boat as Michael.
“It’s true that it has been hard to play him in the situation we have been in at a time when we have had senior experienced players available.
“That is purely all that has held him back, nothing else, because his attitude has been top drawer.
“He is a fantastic professional for such a young guy – he is captain of his country, don’t forget, and he is a top player.
“He has done enough on the training ground to suggest there might be something come the end of the season because he is an honest, hard-working guy as well as a good player.”
McAllister believes Bradley still has the potential to be a goalscoring midfield hero at Villa depending on how the other summer midfield business pans out.
Villa must also resolve the future of Nigel Reo-Coker, who is out of contract at the end of the season, and Robert Pires, whose short-term deal expires at the end of next month.
“Michael has definitely got a goal in him and is someone who can take responsibility of shooting from distance,” added McAllister.
“I think Stiliyan Petrov was a player who did that during his seasons at Celtic and we’ve seen it a little bit here at Villa that he is capable of scoring from distance.
“Before Stiliyan the last guy who could do it was probably Thomas Hitzlsperger.
“But Michael is not shy about taking responsibility of having a pop from 20 or 25 yards out.”