Olof Mellberg could make his last appearance in a Aston Villa shirt today after confirmation that Italian side Juventus have increased their offer in order to take him to Turin sooner rather than later.

Villa manager Martin O'Neill said the Sweden international would play in this afternoon's crunch Barclays Premier League clash with Blackburn Rovers but also hinted there could be news on the player's future on Monday.

Mellberg has been rumoured to have signed a pre-contract with the Serie A side to join them in the summer but Italian newspapers have since reported that Juve were to offer £375,000 for the player's services now.

That offer was rejected by Villa but it appears a fresh bid, increased to about £500,000, is on the table for the defender who has been at Villa for the last seven seasons.

Juve are understood to have an injury crisis, meaning they are eager to get their hands on 30-year-old Mellberg who had been expected to see out the season at Villa before moving overseas in June.

O'Neill has so far refused to confirm any targets this January transfer window but is long known to have been on the hunt for a right back - the position in which Mellberg has been covering.

If Mellberg was to leave next week Villa do still have defensive cover with Gary Cahill's future still undecided after Villa rejected a bid from Bolton Wanderers yesterday - only 24 hours after also rejecting a £3.5 million from Birmingham City.

O'Neill said: "Mellberg is keeping me in the picture and I have absolute trust in him.

"I know what is happening and after the weekend we will have a look at some things but I just want to concentrate on the game for now.

"If he chooses Juventus in the summer, and is in the frame of mind he can continue, great, and so far nothing has shown me otherwise, I would be happy to play him until he goes."

Meanwhile, Villa are still waiting on the fitness of skipper Gareth Barry who is on his way back to fitness after injuring his pelvis last week.

O'Neill said: "Barry trained yesterday and a wee bit the day before and if he declares himself fit I'd want to play him. He is getting better.

"Gareth doesn't miss too many games, certainly not through injury, and he has played with loads of things that maybe would have kept other people out."

O'Neill revealed how his England midfielder had suffered the injury which forced him to miss the 2-2 draw at Anfield last Monday.

He said: "It was a hit from young Stephen O'Halloran. That's why we sent him out on loan to Southampton!"

O'Neill has already made clear his frustration that Southampton have not yet played the young Irish defender despite taking him on loan to give him some match experience.

The manager said: "We were told he was going to play in the games. That was the idea of sending him out. It is not my job to pick Southampton's team but if you are told he is going to start . . . I think Stephen was disappointed."

Villa also face a late fitness test for striker Shaun Maloney who is struggling with a foot injury. n Villa striker Marlon Harewood has been given his first international call-up by Barbados for a World Cup match against Domican Republic.

Harewood came on late in the second half of Villa's Premier League match with Liverpool and instantly turned the contest around with his spectacular overhead kick which pulled his side back into the game and helped ensure a share of the points.

O'Neill said: "Marlon Harewood has been brilliant. At the start of the season, when he had the chance to go elsewhere, I said 'are you prepared to come here and battle' and he said 'absolutely'.

"I am sure it has been a frustrating time. Some people might come crashing in to see me but if he ever comes in to see me, he gently knocks the door and says 'I am around here.'"