Alex McLeish hints at Emile Heskey new Aston Villa contract

Alex McLeish has hinted veteran Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey could be offered a new contract.

Heskey, who is 34 in January, is in the final year of his current deal but has impressed McLeish with his performances and versatility.

McLeish, whose side visit Manchester City on Saturday, said: 'Emile is in the last year of his contract but I don't think he needs to worry about his future.

'Emile is a player who can play anywhere and won't let you down. He is a fantastic professional. I never have cheek from him.

'Sometimes you'll hear coaches shout "brilliant" from the side but the one minute you criticise them and say "you should have done this" they're chirping back at you.

'They don't chirp back and say "thanks for saying brilliant" of course! But Emile is a guy who gets his head down, and gets on with it.

'He is a brilliant all-round player, he understands the game, we need him in the squad.'

Villa's leading scorer Gabriel Agbonlahor is winning his battle to be fit for Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at Manchester City.

Agbonlahor has been suffering with a back problem in the early weeks of the season and was substituted after a stellar performance in the 2-0 win over Wigan a fortnight ago.

Fitness race: Gabriel Agbonlahor (right) should return for Villa on Saturday

But the 25-year-old came through training this week with no problems to report and is set to face Roberto Mancini's side as he looks to add to his four goals in seven league games.

McLeish said: 'Gabby has trained. We are very pleased with the way he has trained. Today was the most intense session for him.

'We put him through it a wee bit and he came through with flying colours.

'We expect him, barring a nightmare in training tomorrow, to be okay for the game at City.

'He has done really well for us this season and I believe he can get even better.'

Midfielders Stephen Ireland (foot) and Barry Bannan (Achilles) and defender James Collins (foot) are also expected to be available, although striker Nathan Delfouneso (hamstring) and on-loan Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas (Achilles) are out.

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Source: Daily Mail