By Danny Wright
Steve Bruce has confirmed that Aston Villa are hoping to land goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on a permanent deal in the January transfer window.
Johnstone, 24, is currently on his second loan spell at Villa Park from Premier League giants Manchester United and there were reports that the West Midlands side did try to tie him down permanently in the summer.
However due to financial restrictions in play at Aston Villa, Bruce and co had to settle for a temporary deal after he impressed in his spell in the second half of last season.
Johnstone got off to a slow start at Villa Park but soon impressed the fans by keeping a series of clean sheets in a run which aided the Villains to steering well clear of the Championship relegation zone.
The goalkeeper technically remains as a player for top-flight side United, but that hasn’t stopped Bruce from declaring that he is hoping to get him tied down for good in the winter.
“It would be great to keep him here for the next few years as Villa’s No.1,” he said, as quoted by the Express and Star.
He added: “I will need to ask the question. The ideal move for us would be to buy him in January.
“You’ve seen it, a young goalkeeper coming in and getting better with every game he plays.
“The difference in him since he’s started in January to now is light years. He’s confident, playing every week and he’s playing real football.”
Johnstone has made 10 appearances this season for Villa, keeping four clean sheets in the process as his side have kept a decent defensive record despite some poor results.
In five of his last Championship matches, the Man United loanee has kept the opposition out on four occasions with his side reviving their form after a less-than-convincing start.
In other Aston Villa news, a Sky Sports pundit has predicted this weekend’s clash with Bolton.