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Villans and loans: who can go, who must stay

Marc Albrighton's time with Aston Villa is coming to a close, and Paul Lambert hopes for a loan move to a Championship side. Meanwhile, Jordan Bowery and Gary Gardner are going nowhere.

At least you had this moment, Marc
At least you had this moment, Marc
Scott Heavey

We've known it for awhile, but Paul Lambert confirmed it today: Aston Villa are hoping to let Marc Albrighton go out on loan. The 23 year old hasn't had the best of times recently, and, with his contract with the Villa about to come to an end, Albrighton needs to get his footballing career back on track.

There's something particularly sad about Marc's situation, as he's a life-long Villa supporter and has stated that playing for the club was a dream come true. But Albrighton really only flourished under Gerard Houllier. He didn't look fantastic under Alex McLeish (although who did, to be fair) and didn't see much action during Paul Lambert's first year in charge. Much of that was due to injury, including a broken foot, but even when Albrighton made an appearance, he looked a shadow of his former self.

And so it looks like it's off to a Championship side for the Elf. He needs to get his confidence back, and he needs to stay healthy. But even if he manages to string together a run of games in the lower leagues, it seems unlikely he'll ever slot into Lambert's plans.

In happier news, Lambert confirmed that Gary Gardner isn't going anywhere this season. The midfielder has also seen his share of injury problems, what with the ACL tear that kept him out for an entire year. He's now dealing with a back issue but it seems he'll be back in contention in the next couple weeks.

Finally, there's Jordan Bowery. Aston Villa have six strikers -- and zero fit defenders -- but Bowery won't be loaned out. Probably so that Lambert can try an inventive 0-4-6 formation. Apparently the manager believes Bowery can play out wide in the midfield if he can't oust one of the other 27 forwards, so the 22 year old has that to look forward to.

Can either Bowery or Gardner play defense, though? Cause that would sure help.