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Paul Lambert believes Gary Gardner has Aston Villa future

Boss Paul Lambert today refused to write off Gary Gardner's Villa career and insisted he could still have a future at the club.

The midfielder is on loan at Sheffield Wednesday and his Villa contract expires in the summer

His spell at Hillsborough ends on Wednesday but boss Stuart Gray has confirmed he wants to keep Gardner – and the player is keen to stay.

The 21-year-old has fought back from two cruciate knee injuries but has only played twice under Lambert, totalling just 18 minutes.

Gardner is yet to hold talks over a new contract but Lambert insisted the door is not closed.

"There's still a chance, but it's hard for me to judge him when I haven't seem much of him due to his injuries," he said. "There is scope for something. I'm not dismissing it. I just need to see the progress that he makes when he's out playing.

"He's been really, really unfortunate with injuries. But I'm not dismissing anything at all. We have to see more of him performing at a level where we think he can make an impact here."

Gardner's last Villa appearance came on the final day of last season as a late substitute in the 2-2 draw at Wigan.

He made the bench for the 2-2 draw at Liverpool in January but joined Wednesday last month to gain fitness.

Gardner, who has played three games for Wednesday, first damaged his cruciate in 2009 and again in 2012 and he has not been able to challenge for a first-team spot.

And Lambert has sympathy for the youth team graduate after his injury-hit years.

"He's had injuries where it's been long term, with his cruciate then his back," he said. "The thing about Gary is he's a really good kid, really nice guy and a really top lad that wants to do well. We have to keep looking at him over the next few months."

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