Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has suggested that he may turn to the experience of Richard Dunne ahead of his side's Premier League clash with Newcastle United.
The 33-year-old centre back has returned to training after spending the majority of the season out injured as a result of an sustained injury at Euro 2012, but Villa boss Lambert has acknowledged the wealth of experience that the defender brings to the team.
"Dunney has been around the block and knows the game and exactly what it entails," Lambert told reporters ahead of the Newcastle game. "Obviously he would be invaluable to the side particularly with the ball coming into the penalty area and the desire he has to compete."
"He is also a really good talker and this is invaluable as well," continued the Villa boss. "But I will have to go by what Richard feels about the situation. We will have a chat but you have to remember that he has been out for well over half a year. That is a long, long time. Just to train and throw him in, it is difficult."
However, Lambert is aware that he cannot 'rush' a return to action from Dunne, considering the amount of operations that the defender has undergone and conceded that it would be 'unfair' to expect too much from the player.
He added: "But you cannot rush anyone who has been out for that length of time. Being out of the side for such a long time has been a nightmare for him with the operations and not getting to the bottom of the problem.
"You have to watch his wellbeing. There is no point in asking him to do something that he does not feel comfortable with or if he is still feeling the injury. That is unfair to himself."
Meanwhile, Lambert has also ruled out the possibility of Shay Given leaving the club in search of first-team football and praised the veteran goalkeeper's intermittent contributions.
"There is not a chance of Shay going out," said the former Norwich City manager. "In the games that Shay has played this season he has been excellent.
"But to be fair, Brad has been playing ever so well and the club are fortunate to have two great goalkeepers in Shay and Brad."