By support

18th Feb, 2017 | 12:24pm

Steve Bruce makes big claim about fringe player, fans will not be happy

By Matt Farr

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has admitted he is desperate for Micah Richards to return to the side.

The 28-year-old defender has been sidelined through injury for much of the current campaign, and has been restricted to just three appearances in all competitions.

Richards is closing in on his long-awaited return to fitness, and Bruce has urged him to be quick about it.

The Aston Villa chief revealed to the Birmingham Mail that he couldn’t wait to have the former Manchester City defender back at his disposal, and that he has the right mentality to help his side out of their current slump.

He admitted: “I could do with him on the pitch. Micah Richards is a stick-on if he’s fit. He has the right mentality.

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“Unfortunately fitness levels have been a big problem for him over the last couple of years. He has been back in training for a week after an ongoing problem with his knee.

“Certainly I could do with him. His experience could prove vital.”

Richards made 28 appearances for the club as they were relegated from the Premier League last season, also serving as club captain.

Villa fans won’t be happy to hear Bruce wax lyrically about Richards after criticising him for his part in Villa’s relegation as well as sub-standard performances this season.

However, something needs to change. Aston Villa are currently on a four-game losing streak in the Championship, with their last league win dating back to a narrow win over Burton Albion on Boxing Day.

The miserable run of form has seen Bruce’s side slip to 16th in the table, where they are now just seven points clear of the relegation zone.

Their promotion hopes appear to be gone for the current season, as the points deficit between themselves and the play-offs is now 19 points.

Villa are next in action against Championship leaders Newcastle on Monday.

In other Aston Villa news, Mick Quinn has fired shots at Aston Villa ahead of their clash with Newcastle.

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