Fit again central defender Curtis Davies admits he faces a "massive battle" to regain his place in Aston Villa's first team.

Davies is back in full training after spending more than three months on the sidelines after undergoing shoulder surgery in September.

He was a first team regular last season alongside Martin Laursen until the Villa skipper was forced to retire because of a knee injury. But since then Villa boss Martin O'Neill has signed Richard Dunne and James Collins, while Carlos Cuellar has also started to show the form he had demonstrated at Rangers.

Davies said: "It is good to be back in training although it has been difficult this week because of the weather and I've not managed to train with the first team yet.

"When there was a chance to train with them, unfortunately I was ill for a couple of days but it is fantastic just to be back involved.

"I am in full training now. Hopefully I can get a few weeks in now. Running-wise I am fit but it is getting the touch, positional stuff and sharpness back.

"Hopefully I will be able to get a game in soon although I know it is going to be really hard to get back into the first team."

Davies conceded: "It will be a big challenge to me to try and get back in. I will be coming back as the fourth choice centre-half, fifth technically with Ciaran Clark in the squad.

"Carlos Cuellar and Richard Dunne have done really well in recent weeks, and so was James Collins before he got injured.

"I am the guy on the outside looking in. I played most of the games last season but I know I am not a big enough player to be able to walk straight back into the side."

Davies added: "My aim is, if I get back in the team eventually, is to show my form of before and make people remember me. Sometimes when you are out of the side, you become a forgotten man.

"The only time people read about you is in terms of injury stories like 'Davies suffers setback' or whatever.

"Hopefully I can show people I am a decent player but I have got a big fight to get back in the side."

Davies added: "I think the gaffer was always going to buy centre-halves with Martin Laursen retiring and Zat Knight moving to Bolton. Unfortunately I was not fit to be able to compete for a place when the new players arrived.

"From that point of view, it was not ideal timing for me but I needed to undergo the surgery.

"I had the shoulder problem initially at West Brom and got away with it for three years. It came up again in last February's FA Cup tie at Everton and I got away with it for another six months.

"But it happened three times in quick succession, during the Peace Cup pre-season in Spain, and in the two Europa League legs against Rapid Vienna. It couldn't be put off any longer."

Davies was speaking at Birmingham Town Hall after teaming up with NVA management to host a Christmas party for 50 underprivileged children.