The central midfielder spent a loan spell at the City Ground last season but would repeating the feat be a wise move from his parent club?
The case for
If Aston Villa do get relegated, they'll need players ready for Championship football. Giving Gardner another spell at Nottingham Forest will strengthen his experience of the division.
Gardner's previous injury problems also reduce his chances of making an impact in the battle against Villa's relegation.
The case against
But isn't loaning someone who could make an impact on the first team out to a lower division simply admitting defeat? Gearing Gardner up for Championship football is the equivalent of saying Villa won't even try to fight for survival.
When battling the drop, you need every possible resource at your behest. A rated 23-year-old who plays in a position where Villa have struggled this season might be a good place to start.
Gardner hasn't really been given a chance at Villa Park and what harm could giving him one do considering Remi Garde's men simply don't win games anyway?
It may all work out for the best - while Nottingham Forest should certainly benefit - but Aston Villa could be making a big mistake with Gardner.