Aston Villa’s struggles this season have come in the final third, but they would still welcome assistance at the back from experienced campaigners.
With Ron Vlaar sidelined again, Paul Lambert is hoping to welcome Philippe Senderos back in the not too distant future.
The former Arsenal and Fulham defender picked up a calf injury while away with Switzerland in the last international break and sat out the entire festive period as a result.
He is, however, closing on a return to fitness and will hope to be back in contention by the time Villa take in important clashes with his former employers at Emirates Stadium on February 1 and Premier League leaders Chelsea the following weekend.
Senderos told Sky Sports: “I have been unfortunate that I had an injury to my calf and it has been a bit up and down, but I hope to be ready very soon - the next few weeks. It’s been difficult, the rehab and stuff, but we’ll see how I progress in the next few weeks.”
The 29-year-old centre-half has also called on Villa supporters to keep the faith following a testing run of results which has seen pressure mount on Lambert and his coaching team.
He added: “I understand the frustration of the fans because we feel the same thing. We should score more goals and things like this, but I think the team is still doing brilliantly. We haven’t been conceding goals, we have been defending really well.
“We have improved a lot our possession stats, they are higher, and we have been getting a lot more of the ball. This is the first step to getting more goals. People have to be behind the team and continue to support us.”
Villa have kept clean sheets in their last three outings in all competitions, but have mustered just one goal – in an FA Cup third round victory over Blackpool.
They have netted only 11 in 20 top-flight fixtures this season, which is the lowest return in the division by some distance.
Senderos is right to suggest that there are positives to be taken from recent outings, but Lambert knows he will be judged on results and that he needs to find an attacking spark from somewhere – possibly in the January transfer market.