Aston Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton completed 90 minutes for the first time in ten months last night during a 2-0 win for the under-23 outfit against Stoke City.
The custodian has been out with a knee ligament injury but now he looks like edging closer to a return to the first-team fold.
Heaton arrived at Villa Park in the summer of 2019, costing the club £8 million from Premier League rivals Burnley.
The 34-year-old managed 20 games before breaking down with a season-ending problem but he’s now on the mend.
He will face a real battle to oust summer signing Emiliano Martinez from the starting line-up, especially after his solid early-season form.
Having some quality competition on the bench would be ideal for Dean Smith though ahead of a long campaign.
Heaton has been capped three times by England and is a very reliable pair of hands.
The stopper is paid £42,000-a-week by Villa and he’ll be desperate to try and wrestle the gloves away from Martinez.
Following his clean sheet against Stoke for the under-23 outfit yesterday he posted a message to supporters on Twitter.
Fans were quick to react and here is what they are saying about Heaton’s pending return.
Well done Tom, good to see you back between the sticks👍
— Will Chisholm (@Billy_Chisholm) November 23, 2020
Villa fans all delighted to have you back pal!
— Bhavick Ricky Popat (@RickyPopat) November 23, 2020
Excellent news, been a while! UTV
— Dean (@Dean1874_) November 23, 2020
Love seeing this….2 top class keepers
— Iain Wright (@IainWright2) November 23, 2020
Great to see you back Tom 😍😍💪🏻
— Aimee (@aimee_1874) November 24, 2020
— Up the Clarets (@utcdotcom) November 23, 2020
— Stoops Gallery (@stoops_gallery) November 24, 2020