Aston Villa: Veteran centre-back James Collins still training with club

Veteran central defender James Collins, who was on Aston Villa’s books from 2009-2012, posted an Instagram photo in the claret and blue training shirt.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith addressed James Collins’ situation at the club last week. He told the Birmingham Mail Collins was still training with the club after being brought on trial under former manager Steve Bruce two months ago.

Smith, so far, is keeping the former Wales international, who is currently recovering from a small injury:

“James is not fit at the moment so he’s going through his rehab to get himself fit,” the boss said. “We’ll take it from there after that. “He’ll have some rehab for seven days then he should be ready to go and train with the first-team. “Everybody knows our lack of centre-backs so I think it is right to keep him around us. “It was Steve (Bruce) who brought him in here for the same reason. “We’ll keep him around us and see what fitness levels he can get to. “He’s an out-of-contract player so he’s one we can add to the squad if need be.”

Collins, 35, played in 13 Premier League matches last season with West Ham United, scoring once. He made a further two appearances in the League Cup. While it’s far from a sure thing the player will be offered a first-team contract, it is certainly trending in that direction.

What does James Collins offer?

Well, he could be a potential upgrade over Mile Jedinak and James Bree as a reserve, third-choice centre-back. His presence would allow Jedinak to move back into midfield while a younger, permanent defender is brought in January as well. At this point, James Chester and Axel Tuanzebe are locked-in as starting central defenders.

With Collins on board, Jedinak in reserve, and the January transfer window looming, the defensive frailty is looking brighter.