Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has decided that he wants to bring Tommy Elphick back from his loan spell at Hull City in January, according to a report from the Sunday People (23/12; page 50).
Many Villa supporters would have been forgiven for thinking that they had already seen the 31-year-old's final appearance for the club. After struggling to get into the side under Steve Bruce, Elphick was given the green light to join their Championship rivals in the summer.
And with Transfermarkt showing that his Villa deal expires this summer, it seemed that his parent club were ready to let him go on a free.
But, while it remains to be seen what it means for his future beyond this season, the Sunday People (23/12; page 50) reports that he is set to be recalled by Smith next month.
Villa are short of options at centre-back after a summer which saw the club prioritise signings that would improve their attacking ranks. And it has proved fairly costly.
They find themselves 11th in the table - though they will go seventh with a win against Leeds United on Sunday - despite being the second-highest scorers in the division, behind West Brom.
Villa boast the worst defensive record of any team in the top-half of the table, having conceded almost twice as many goals as their next opponents.
Elphick has been a good signing for Hull. Nigel Adkins' men have actually conceded fewer goals than his parent club, so it will be a blow for them to lose him next month.
And it will be interesting to see whether the former Bournemouth man is able to complete the turnaround at Villa and perhaps earn a fresh contract before the summer.
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