By Tom Blackburn

Hull have made an enquiry with Aston Villa about former captain Micah Richards, according to a report.

The Mail claim that Hull are hoping to sign the ex-England defender, as they look to build on their small squad.

The Daily Star reported last month that the 28-year-old has a £5million release clause in his Villa contract.

The Northern Echo then reported that Sunderland manager David Moyes had been interested but had opted to search the transfer market for a different defensive option.

Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo is under no pressure to sell Richards, who captained them last season at times.

The defender has three years remaining on the four-year contract he signed last summer.

Richards endured a difficult campaign last year as he was unable to prevent The Villans conceding 76 Premier League goals, and subsequently being relegated for the first time in 28 seasons.

He has been a fringe player this season, with new skipper Tommy Elphick, £7million signing James Chester and Nathan Baker ahead of him in the pecking order for central defender spots.

Richards joined Villa on a free transfer from Manchester City in 2015 and the defender played in 28 matches last season, predominantly at centre-back.

The 13-time capped England ace was once considered a bright prospect as he broke into Man City’s senior side in the Premier League as a right-back.

But a combination of the Manchester side’s increased wealth and the emergence of Pablo Zabaleta has seen Richards’ career hit a steep decline.

Before signing for Villa, Richards spent the 2014-15 season on loan in Italy with Fiorentina, but struggled to break into the side before his move to the Midlands.

It remains to be seen whether the Englishman will help Villa launch a promotion push this season in the Championship and regain their top-flight status.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, Tony Xia responds on Twitter to question about Aston Villa signing Drogba.