Remi Garde pleased to have a selection dilemma at Aston Villa

Micah Richards is set to return to fitness in time for Aston Villa's match against West Bromwich Albion.

Remi Garde has told the Daily Mail that it is good news that he now has competition for places at Aston Villa.

The Claret and Blues have gone unbeaten in their last four matches, and Micah Richards has been missing for three of these contests.

Richards picked up an injury while playing in an FA Cup match against Wycombe Wanderers at Adams' Park, and he has not featured since.

The powerful centre back is fit enough to start against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, but Garde has suggested that the former Manchester City man is not guaranteed a place in his starting line up.

“This is something have have to consider," said Garde. 'It is not an easy situation because Micah used to be the captain of the team for the start of the season.

"But then I have to consider as well the last two games we played were very interesting in many aspects. I have to be fair with everybody, with every player in my team.

"This is quite good news for me when I have competition between big players for selection to the starting line-up.

"I know it can be frustrating when you are not selected but once again for me as a manager it is good to have competition. If not, we would be in big trouble.”

Villa’s fringe players have done little to promote their causes when handed opportunities throughout the season so far, due to the side’s series of poor results.

However, Ciaran Clark and Joleon Lescott seem to have formed a reliable partnership in the heart of the side’s defences, and breaking the duo up would be a big call from Garde.

The French boss will need to ensure that he does get his team selection right against the Baggies, as a defeat for Villa against their fiercest rivals would halt the momentum they have picked up from their recent unbeaten run.

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