By Harry Sykes

Aston Villa have moved a step closer to signing experienced Premier League defender Christopher Samba.

The centre-back, 32, was named in the starting XI as an over-age player for Villa’s Under-23s in their Premier League 2 clash against Wolves at Molineux on Monday night.

Villa have handed a trial to Samba as they run the rule over him with a view to signing him on a free transfer and adding him to Steve Bruce’s senior squad.

The defender began training with the Midlands giants last month in a bid to earn a contract having returned to England following spells in Russia and Greece.

Samba, 32, was joined in defence by 17-year-old Jacob Bedeau in the derby clash while Jordan Lyden, who has missed the majority of the season through injury, is on the Villa bench.

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Samba’s inclusion in the Villa Under-23s side is a strong sign that the club are close to offering him a playing deal that would reignite his career.

Samba is without a club after being released by Panathinaikos in January but he has considerable Premier League experience, with 171 matches in the competition, after spells at Blackburn and QPR during their top-flight days.

The Republic of Congo international made two appearances in the Greek top flight this season after joining from Dynamo Moscow in August but is now keen on a return to playing in England.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, a senior figure has joined the Midlands giants after completing a switch from Scotland.

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