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Wolves close in on Villa's Stephen Warnock

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Wolves were today hopeful of a deal to bring out-of-favour Aston Villa left-back Stephen Warnock to Molineux on loan.

The Express & Star understands Wolves boss Dean Saunders has enquired about the experienced defender's availability, although they face a battle with Leeds for Warnock's services.

Stephen Ward is Wolves' only fit senior left-back, with George Elokobi ruled out for the rest of the season after ankle surgery, and has reeled off 72 consecutive league appearances for the club.

But Saunders is keen to redress the balance of his squad and add some competition for the position.

Warnock, who is out of contract in the summer, has been frozen out at Villa by manager Paul Lambert this season and been banished to train with the club's youth team at the Bodymoor Heath.

The 31-year-old had a three-month loan spell at Bolton at the end of last year where he made 15 Championship appearances, including one against Wolves in the 2-2 draw at Molineux in October.

Bolton manager Dougie Freedman had hoped to sign Warnock on a permanent basis but the Trotters were unwilling to meet his wage demands.

The former Liverpool and Blackburn defender reputedly earns £40,000 a week at Villa, although it's understood Wolves would only be prepared to pay a percentage of that figure.

Premier League sides West Ham and Fulham have also been linked with Warnock, but there were no concrete offers from either club.

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Capped twice by England – his last one came against France in November 2010 – Warnock was in Fabio Capello's 2010 World Cup squad and was picked ahead of Everton's Leighton Baines.

Warnock was signed by former Villa boss Martin O'Neill from Blackburn for £6m in January 2009 and has made 84 Premier League appearances.

He hasn't played for Villa this season but was a regular last term and in 2009-10, making 35 and 30 Premier League appearances respectively.

Saunders is also closing in on a striker as one of two potential signings this window, with pacy Norwich forward Simeon Jackson one of several targets.

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