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Rarely-seen Danish striker may help Villa secure safety

Nicklas Helenius is once again fully healthy and able to be picked for this weekend's trip to Swansea.

Laurence Griffiths

When Christian Benteke ruptured his achilles and was declared out for at least six months, one player many people brought up as a potential gap-filler was 6'5" striker Nicklas Helenius. But the Danish striker, brought in from Aalborg last summer, hasn't seen the pitch since January, when he scored Villa's only goal in the FA Cup loss to Sheffield United.

Aside from Paul Lambert simply not selecting him, part of Helenius' problem recently has been a thigh injury that has kept him out of training. That injury is cleared up now if the striker's agent is to be believed, and Helenius should be eligible for selection this weekend. That's good news for Lambert, who could certainly benefit from some more options to his anemic strikeforce. Since Benteke's injury, Villa have only scored one goal in three matches.

It's exceptionally difficult to tell if Helenius would actually help Villa at this point, since we've seen so little of him throughout the year that he essentially remains a mystery. But given the problems that the current choices have had, it's hard to imagine him being a worse option. Hopefully he can at least see the substitutes' bench this weekend and maybe even make his way onto the pitch. It'd be nice to see if there is anything there before he demands a summer move. And it would be an amazing story if it were his second goal of the year that all but guaranteed safety for Aston Villa.