The Villa favourite is desperately seeking a chance to play, as he tells Ian Clarkson...
Lee Hendrie procured his first goal of the season against West Ham United on Saturday but the seasoned midfielder still fears that his future could lie away from Villa Park.
The 28-year-old scored only the second headed goal of his 12-year Villa career, but it was to no avail as the visitors took all three points thanks to second-half strikes from Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood.
Yet, Hendrie was only on the pitch because of a ham-string injury to Eirik Bakke and he still hasn't started a game at Villa Park this season.
In fact, it is ten years since Hendrie played such a peripheral role during the course of a season.
With two weeks remaining before the transfer window shuts, Hendrie is still in the dark about what the future holds for him at Villa Park.
"I don't want to ask to leave," he said. "I won't ask to leave. I've never been in the situation where I've thought of leaving the club, to be honest.
"To think now that maybe I might be is disappointing, but I need to be playing football.
"You've got to think of all the alternatives that you are going to come across. I've asked to go on loan but if something came in, who knows?
"On a personal note, this has been the lowest point of my career. I haven't started a game at Villa Park this season, which is disappointing in my eyes when we're into the New Year."
Supporters made their feelings known when Hendrie replaced Bakke as he received a rapturous reception.
The Holte End made their feelings known regarding Hendrie and Mark Delaney with unequivocal backing all afternoon and Hendrie confessed that Villa's supporters have helped him come through some of his blackest days in football.
"If it wasn't for the fans being as good as they are, I don't think I would have a career here, to be honest," he said candidly. "I only have to warm up and I get a standing ovation and the hairs were standing up on the back of my neck.
"To come on and score; it's nice to give them something back as well, really.
"They've stuck by me, no matter what I've said and I've done some things in the past I possibly regret.
"To think they still stand by me, is excellent. I've been at the club since I was 14 and my heart is here. My dad played for Blues and a couple of my family are Blues fans, but my heart is here. If it wasn't, I could have gone to Birmingham. "
Hendrie's season started badly when he was dismissed in a pre-season friendly at Tamworth.
A three-match ban and a subsequent knee operation scuppered his early-season first-team chances, but he has been unable to change manager David O'Leary's mind and has spent the vast majority of this campaign on the bench.
Nevertheless, he insists that he has no problem whatsoever with the Villa manager and is just frustrated by the circumstances of his current plight.
"We've not had a fall-out. I've never had a rift with the gaffer," added Hendrie.
"He pushed me back to what I was, playing football every week and doing my job, when he came here.
"I respect him for that. There is nothing I can say to the manager. I can't go in and say 'play me' because the gaffer is going to make his decisions.
"All I can do is keep giving him a headache and let my football do the talking. I don't want to go in there ranting and raving because I've got a good understanding with the gaffer.
"If we've got a problem, we speak about it and that's the way we have been over the period he's been here.
"I don't want to be a backup option at the age of 28. I don't want to go a full season, look back and think I've made six or seven appearances because that isn't me.
"I've looked at the last few seasons and I've played 20-plus games all the time. I don't want to waste a season.
"That's my main issue. I want to play football. Who in their right mind, doesn't want to play football?" ..SUPL: