Aston Villa manager David O'Leary insists that next week's decision about the future of Mark Delaney will not be based on the Welsh defender's latest injury blow.
After seeing a specialist, Delaney is expected to be out for only three weeks after he limped out of Sunday night's 1-1 FA Cup draw with Manchester City.
But O'Leary said: "This shouldn't affect Mark's contract situation. The club have until March 1 to make that decision and it will be judged, I should imagine, on many things. But I don't think this injury will go against him.
"I think everybody at the club wants Mark to stay. They're just looking at the overall picture."
Villa still face losing Delaney on a free transfer in the summer. But, after losing him for tomorrow's trip to Charlton Athletic, O'Leary's short-term concern is how long Delaney will be out with knee ligament damage.
O'Leary has Liam Ridgewell, a first team fixture alongside Olof Mellberg in the autumn, set to return tomorrow at The Valley. But he has already braced himself for Delaney missing the Cup replay with City. He will not return until next month's trip to Everton at the earliest.
Meanwhile, Patrik Berger has targeted next weekend's visit of Portsmouth to Villa Park as the date to end his four-month 'nightmare'.
Berger played the first 45 minutes in a Villa reserve team that also included Eric Djemba-Djemba in defeating Sunderland 4-0 on Wednesday night. And, after just four starts since signing from Pompey in the summer, the former Czech international is hoping he has put his latest recurrence of knee trouble behind him.
"I'd love to be involved against Portsmouth next weekend," said Berger. "But that's up to the manager.
"It was just great to be back in a Villa shirt. Now I have to see if there's any reaction. The season starts here for me." ..SUPL: