Garry Monk comments on Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner

Gary Gardner of Aston Villa during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Burton Albion and Aston Villa at the Pirelli Stadium on July 21, 2018 in Burton, England.

Gardner is currently on loan with Monk's side Birmingham City from Villa.

Gary Gardner of Birmingham City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and  Swansea City at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium on August 17, 2018 in Birmingham,...

Garry Monk has told Birmingham City's official website that Gary Gardner is "playing for his career" with the Blues after joining the Championship strugglers on loan from Aston Villa.

Gardner, 26, has been crucial to Birmingham's season so far under Monk, playing in 13 of the Blues' 15 Championship outings and helping his loan side turn their form around with three consecutive league wins.

Indeed, Birmingham have gone unbeaten in their last 10 league games, though six of those have been draws and Monk's side are sitting pretty in 11th place. Gardner even scored in their most recent outing, a 2-1 win over Reading.

 

Monk spoke out on Gardner ahead of Birmingham's clash against Sheffield Wednesday, describing his spell at Villa as a "difficult time" and believes the midfielder is playing for his career - suggesting a permanent move could be on the cards.

"He's had a difficult time at Aston Villa and hasn't quite got going there and it looks like he's playing for his career as well as us," Monk said.

"He's fitted straight in and is a really good professional and a great lad and he's fitted straight into the changing room and the environment we've got there and we're seeing the rewards out on the pitch at this moment."

Harvey Barnes of West Bromwich Albion and Gary Gardner of Birmingham City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion at St Andrew's Trillion...

Making his debut for Villa way back in December 2011 under Alex McLeish, Gardner has struggled to make an impression with Dean Smith's side and has managed just 46 career appearances for his boyhood club.

Instead, he has gone out on loan numerous times to the likes of Coventry City, Sheffield Wednesday, Brighton, Nottingham Forest, Barnsley and now Birmingham.

He has a contract at Villa until the summer of 2020, but following Monk's comments, Birmingham could look to land the box-to-box midfielder on a permanent basis at the end of his loan.

Birmingham manager Gary Monkk during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City at City Ground on August 25, 2018 in Nottingham, England.

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