Martin O’Neill will decide today whether to recall Lee Hendrie from his successful loan spell with Championship outfit Stoke City.
The Aston Villa manager is hoping to have Stiliyan Petrov and Gavin McCann back in contention for the home Premiership clash with Middlesbrough on Saturday, but Hendrie remains on stand-by.
The long-serving 29-year-old is proving to be a big success at the Britannia Stadium, but Villa have a 24-hour recall on his services and O’Neill revealed he would consider bringing back the midfielder.
"I will have a look at whether we have Gavin back, and how Stiliyan Petrov is," he said."Not that Lee would be twisting my arm to say that he should be automatically back in the team again when he comes back, don’t worry about that.
"But what you wouldn’t want is that he is on a run there at the minute, and then to take him back and not have the benefit of those things in maybe ten or 12 days' time. All of those things will enter into my head."
One issue O'Neill doesn't have to think about is the future of Milan Baros whose work with the reserves looks to have convinced the manager he can play a role at Villa Park.
The emergence of Luke Moore – now injured – and Gabriel Agbonlahor, the return to form of Juan Pablo Angel and the way O'Neill has set his team up have meant the former Liverpool striker has failed to register his presence so far this season.
Baros has started just four matches all season, and has played a mere 20 minutes in Villa's last four games.
But his performance for the reserves against Tottenham Hotspur reserves on Monday evening has reminded O'Neill about his ability at a time when the club face three fixtures in which they could consolidate their challenge for a European place.
With Middlesbrough, Manchester City and Portsmouth in the next couple of weeks, Villa could do with Baros returning to form just as he did on Monday night.
"Milan scored a goal and did really well. He tried to get hold of the ball, tried to turn, tried to run with it and did fine," said O'Neill.
"It will give me food for thought, absolutely, because although we haven't had that much tinkering we have had to change things a wee bit because of injuries and suspensions.
"Whereas some people have done exceptionally well, we are not that good that people can't break into the side and stay there. So it was really pleasing."
Steven Davis similarly scored and earned O'Neill's praise as the midfielder seeks a way back in after failing to start the last four league games.
"The main issue was that he played and got a bit of confidence," O'Neill said. "He scored a goal and I thought when he came at Wigan he looked quite bright. I think Steven is starting to get back into form, which is always a good sign."
O'Neill watched from the sidelines as a young reserve side were beaten by Spurs, and Kevin MacDonald's young Lions shone.
"Although we were beaten 3-2, I was impressed — the whole team did fine," said O'Neill.