Aston Villa striker Darius Vassell could be forgiven for wishing the season would end immediately after missing much of the campaign with an ankle injury.

The 24-year-old England international, who has only scored three times this term, acknowledges the season has been disappointing both for him personally and also for the club.

However, after finally regaining his match fitness following a five-month lay-off with a broken ankle, Vassell has no desire to miss Villa's final three Premiership matches of the season.

"It's been a disappointing season," said Vassell, who has started just 15 games. "As a Villa supporter, I want to be involved in everything the team do, so it was frustrating to be out for so long.

"Hopefully I can at least have a run of games to finish the season because I've really missed it. When I get my full fitness I'm hoping I can play my part in helping us to achieve something."

With Villa, who are ninth in the league, just two points off a Uefa Cup spot with three games remaining, Vassell wants to help David O'Leary's side qualify for Europe.

And the striker, who broke his ankle against Fulham at Villa Park last October, also knows he could earn himself a recall for England's summer tour of the United States if he impresses.

That may well prove beyond him with Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey and Andy Johnson seemingly ahead of Vassell in the pecking order for Sven-G^ran Eriksson's squad.

But Vassell is determined to finish his own season of frustration with a flourish to

help Villa and hopefully himself too.

He added: " I've been through this sort of thing before so I knew what was required to get myself fit.

"Unfortunately, it's taken a bit longer this time. It was a niggling injury and that made it harder to overcome but I'm getting there now.

"Now I just want to prove my fitness and come back sharp and strong at the start of next season.

"I don't set specific goal targets but every player sets out with certain goals at the start of every season and I'm no different.

"In my case, I wanted to get into the team - which isn't always easy because we have some good players here - and then perform well as a first team regular. That's what the manager asks of me and that's what I aim to do."

Meanwhile, Villa's reserve team goalkeeper Stefan Postma says he may return to his native Holland next season to boost his chances of forcing his way into the Dutch squad for the 2006 World Cup.

Postma has been on the transfer list at Villa since last November because he has grown increasingly frustrated at being unable to displace Thomas Sorensen as the club's number one.

Postma, aged 28, would prefer to remain in England but several Dutch clubs are interested despite the goalkeeper only making six Premiership appearances since signing from De Graafschap for £1 million in 2002.

Postma said: " At the moment I just want to play. If I was to stay at Aston Villa and was given a real opportunity to become the first choice keeper I would love to fight for that chance.

"If that was not possible then a move to another club in the Premiership or the Championship where I can prove myself is the best option.

"But I also know I could go back to Holland and do well for a season and that would put myself in with a chance of getting into the World Cup squad."