Olof Mellberg claims that Aston Villa are not in any need of any expensive summer overhaul to become more of a top-flight force again next season.

With two games left of this very disappointing campaign, Villa are not yet safe from the drop.

A heavy defeat against FA Cup finalists Liverpool at Anfield tomorrow, coupled with wins for Birmingham City and Portsmouth, would really pile on the pressure for the following Sunday's Premiership climax.

But, while manager David O'Leary constantly points to his squad's lack of depth, Villa skipper Mellberg insists the current side is good enough to compete in the top-flight's higher reaches.

Though he recognises that Villa need better luck with injuries and an injection of confidence, the Sweden international defender feels that starting from a clean sheet next August is all that is needed.

"I would back this squad to do better next season," said Mellberg. "We will see what happens in the summer, but whatever happens we have some good players here.

"We've been unlucky in a few games but the league position after 38 games doesn't really lie so we've got to look to improve for next season and it is more a case of working with what we've got.

"It is disappointing we haven't been able to build on finishing sixth a couple of seasons ago.

"I said at the start of the season that we had a good squad. We brought in a couple of good players in Milan Baros and Freddie Bouma last summer. And, with only Thomas Hitzlsperger and Darius Vas-sell leaving, we were able to build on what we had. The manager was able to keep what he wanted to keep, plus some young players have come through and, on paper, the squad is stronger.

"And, although we have lost some players this season, it has been more a case of them not playing and the manager preferring other players."

'Disappointing' would not be the word if Villa did somehow remain embroiled in the relegation scrap for the final afternoon of the season on Sunday week. And they have at least been given some encouraging news ahead of tomorrow's trip to Anfield.

Midfielder Steven Davis has returned to training after missing the defeats to Wigan Athletic and Manchester City with the hamstring injury he suffered early on in the derby win over Blues only 12 days ago. And Lee Hendrie is also in contention after playing for the reserves against Leeds United last night.