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Richard Dunne 's odds of being Villa's savior take a hit

The veteran defender's hopes of making a return to the team have once again been dashed by an injury setback, adding to doubts that he will ever again pull on a Villa shirt.

Alex Livesey

This time last week there was hope that Richard Dunne might return in time for what turned out to be an Aston Villa loss to Newcastle United in a huge relegation battle clash, but Steve Wollaston of the Birmingham Mail is the bearer of bad news in reporting that Dunne has re-injured his groin, leaving the timeline for his return up in the air. With Dunne's contract set to expire over the summer and a renewal with Villa looking exceedingly unlikely, the difficulty that Dunne is experiencing in terms of overcoming this injury (the nature of which is notorious for being nagging and unpredictable)) is beginning to make it seem as though his time as a Villa Player is all but over.

That isn't any kind of confirmation of course, but in terms of gut-feelings I don't have much optimism. I'm a skeptic of the "Villa needs experience" school of thought so far as it relates to their transfer strategy, but I find it hard to argue with the belief that a player such as Dunne coming back into the team would be welcome. Given the struggles of some of the club's young defenders it's tough to see how it would be a step back.

If nothing else, it would be a shame to see Dunne's time in claret and blue end in such a fashion. Though he's far from immune to criticism, Dunne made some undeniably major contributions to the club and his effort and commitment to the cause have never been in question. I'm hopeful that this is just a minor bump along the path to recovery and that Dunne can make a meaningful contribution this season, but I'm not optimistic. Yet another entry in the series of things that have gone almost comically wrong for Aston Villa this season.