Aston Villa's Gary Gardner on Tim Sherwood and his own prospects for the season

The talented midfielder is set for an important role at Villa Park this season.

Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner has sung the praises of manager Tim Sherwood and stated his determination to make an impact at Villa Park this season.

The 23-year old is nearing a return to full fitness after a horror tackle in a pre-season friendly against Swindow Town ruled him out of the start of the season.

Gardner – the younger brother of West Brom midfielder Craig Gardner – is now primed to make his return and prove his worth, after impressing on loan at Brighton and Nottingham Forest last season.

Sherwood’s arrival at Villa Park has been key to the youngster’s involvement with the first-team and he had nothing but kind words to say about the former Spurs boss.

“The manager is one of the best I’ve ever worked with and he’s said I’ll get my chance and I believe him,” said Gardner, in quotes published by the Birmingham Mail.

“You have got to have trust in the managers these days… I think he’s been fair to a lot of the players here.

“I have to work hard, it’s up to me. I believe that I do work hard and hopefully my chance will come.”

Gardner enters the fray with Villa ominously perched in 19th position - having picked up one win, one draw and seven losses in their first nine games – and his confidence is evidenced by the fact that he doesn’t just want to be involved because the team are down on their luck.

“I want to be there on merit. I don’t want to be there because the other players aren’t performing,” he added.

“We’ve got a lot of talent here and hopefully I can add to that.”

Add to it he certainly will, and the battle for a midfield position at Villa is shaping up to be an intriguing one over the coming weeks.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch