O'Leary backs Bakke

The 28-year-old, who also played under O'Leary at Elland Road, switched to Villa in August for a five-month spell and after a series of injuries, he has made six ropey appearances. "We'd probably like to keep him," O'Leary said of 'one-touch' Bakke, so called because of his propensity to lay the ball back at every opportunity. "We'll get to that in January but Eirik is coming up to speed now and getting fit."

Tubbs also confident that Gavin McCann is returning to his best form as he contnues to recover from the serious knee injury he sustained last term. The 27-year-old has turned out nine times for Villa this season, but the manager believes he is still short of the top of his game. "There is more to come from Gavin and he is maybe four weeks into a six-week period that will improve him," said O'Leary. "With Gavin McCann in the mix we are a better team. A year is a long time to miss but he is getting there."