Aston Villa latest: Including Benteke and Crewe team news

All of the latest news and transfer rumours connected to Aston Villa.

Paul Lambert says Christian Benteke is looking good in pre-season. Benteke returned to the club for their 2-0 friendly defeat at the hands of Luton having missed the club’s pre-season tour of Germany: “He had 45 minutes. He's only done a bit of training. He's still got to work on match fitness but that 45 minutes will do him the world of good.”

Nicklas Helenius says he’s glad Christian Benteke is back and he wants to learn from the Belgian forward. Benteke returned to action for the club earlier this week, having agreed a contract extension with Aston Villa after doing a u-turn having handed in an official transfer request to leave the club.

Stiliyan Petrov has backed Aston Villa for a high Premier League finish when the new season starts. The former club captain says the side is shaping up nicely ahead of the new season following Christian Benteke’s decision to withdraw his transfer request and stay at the club.

Aston Villa have sent full back Alan Hutton back to Real Mallorca for a second loan spell. The Scot spent the second half of last season with the Spanish club but was not able to help them stay in La Liga. Hutton returns after no solid interest for his transfer in the UK.

Leandro Bacuna says the Aston Villa dressing room is full of nothing but positive energy. The new boy has revealed his positive impression having signed for the club this summer: “It's such a nice club. The people here are really friendly - the staff and the players - it's great to be part of. I really like it here.”

Stephen Ireland is poised to follow goalkeeper Shay Given to Doncaster Rovers. Paul Dickov appears to have focused on the 26-year-old midfielder, ready to offer him a chance to revitalise his career with the Championship club having fallen out of favour at Villa Park.

Championship club Blackburn Rovers are reportedly readying a bid to sign Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan. Bannan is out of favour at Villa Park and could be tempted away from the club by the prospect of playing regular first team football as Blackburn strive to get back into the Premier League.

Darren Bent has said he’s ‘gutted’ to have lost the Aston Villa number nine shirt to new signing Nicklas Helenius. Bent continues to be linked with a move away from the club, with Fulham and Newcastle United reportedly among the clubs interested in him.

Paul Lambert expects one or two fresh faces to be available for the pre-season friendly against Crewe Alexandra tomorrow. Nicklas Helenius and Jores Okore could return for the match but winger Charles N’Zogbia remains out of action for the long term with an Achilles problem.

image: © ell brown

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