By Matt Farr

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has revealed he wants to keep Christopher Samba at the club through to pre-season.

The 33-year-old has been without a club since his release from Panathinaikos in January, but has since been training with Aston Villa.

Samba has been allowed to build up his fitness levels with the first team squad at Bodymoor Heath while he continues his search for a new club.

But Aston Villa chief Bruce admits that he is looking for Samba to remain with his side into the summer and into their preparations for next season.

He told the Birmingham Mail: “He’s still here. Nothing’s changed. I hope he stays until the end of the season and does pre-season with us.

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“If he gets himself fit, and that’s what he’s here for, then that will suit him and it will suit me too.”

Aston Villa are expected to enter the transfer market this summer for a new defender, and if he can prove his fitness levels to Bruce, Samba could be a possible permanent arrival.

The Congolese defender has already struck a chord with the Aston Villa fans, who have urged Bruce to sign him on a permanent basis, and they will be delighted to hear that Bruce plans an extended stay.

He has already featured for the club’s Under 23 side during a meeting with Wolves at Molineux, as well as in a closed doors friendly shortly after his arrival at the Midlands club.

Bruce had earlier revealed he would be holding imminent talks with the former Premier League defender.

The Republic of Congo international has considerable Premier League experience, with 171 matches in the competition, after spells at Blackburn and QPR during their top-flight days.

Aston Villa are next in action against Norwich in the Championship on Saturday.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club have agreed terms with this defensive-midfielder.

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