By Danny Wright

13th Aug, 2017 | 10:27am

Championship rivals eye up surprise swoop for Aston Villa 25-year-old - reliable journalist

By Danny Wright

Barnsley are lining up a “surprise” move for Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner, according to a reliable journalist.

Sun reporter Alan Nixon claimed on his personal Twitter account on Sunday morning that the 25-year-old could be exiting Villa Park on a temporary basis with the Villains’ Championship rivals Barnsley now in the hunt.

Gardner is a product of Aston Villa’s prestigious youth set-up but has found it tough to break into the first-team and as a result has been sent out on numerous loan spells in the past.

Despite spending his whole career with the West Midlands side, he has made just 45 appearances for them across all competitions.

The former England Under-21 international, whose old brother Craig plays for bitter rivals Birmingham, had finally emerged into the first-team last season, but still found it tough to impress manager Steve Bruce as he was consistently in and out of the starting line-up.

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Gardner’s previous loan spells have seen him turn out for Coventry, Sheffield Wednesday, Brighton and most recently Nottingham Forest, where he has been on two separate occasions, making a combined total of 40 appearances.

Football Insider Verdict

Gardner’s career at Villa Park has simply failed to kick off. Last season it seemed as though he was going to be handed a fair shot at asserting his place in the squad, but after the last two transfer windows has seen the central midfield area bolstered, he has fell further down the pecking order. It may be time for Aston Villa to sell Gardner for good. He clearly has no place in Bruce’s plans at the moment and doesn’t appear to be making headway in terms of his future. Barnsley would be a decent move for him and he would pretty much be guaranteed more football there. The Tykes will be battling for survival this term and his experience from playing for the likes of Forest and Brighton will certainly come in handy.

In other Aston Villa news, Bruce has confirmed that this first-team player is heading for the exit.

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