Villa to bring back former star to assist Bent’s goal trail

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Alex McLeish has already identified the need to find a player to provide the necessary service to Darren Bent at Aston Villa this season and this desire could mean a return to Villa Park for James Milner.

With Ashley Young already gone to Manchester United and Stewart Downing seeming on the brink of a switch to Liverpool, Villa will have lost their two most creative forces from last season.

Although Marc Albrighton is a bright prospect and Stephen Ireland is to be given a second chance to show his best, Villa could certainly benefit from a new squad member in the wide areas.

Charles N’Zogbia and Matthew Etherington are among the players to be linked with Aston Villa, but the most recent rumours involve a return to the club for fan favourite Milner.

The 25-year-old left Villa for Manchester City in a £26m deal last summer, but has struggled to hold down a regular first-team berth at Eastlands.

With the possibilities of another season of spending a large chunk of time on the bench, particularly if the likes of Alexis Sanchez arrive at Manchester City, a return to Villa may appeal to Milner.

McLeish recently stated: “Darren Bent has been in sensational form scoring goals for this club since he signed in January, but he needs a supplier and the ammunition to carry that on.”

If Aston Villa fail to replace Young and Downing, should they both leave, then they could be involved in a relegation battle for the second successive season, rather than challenging for a top-four finish.

It is 16/1 in the Premier League odds that Aston Villa are relegated next season, but it would only take two or three recruits to get them back in the hunt for Champions League qualification.

Aston Villa are 25/1 to finish in the top four this season and 7/4 to win their opening game of the campaign away at Fulham.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.