O'Neill encourages Shorey

Villa boss says full-back still has a future at Villa Park

Shorey: Happy at Forest

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Martin O'Neill insists Nicky Shorey still has a future at Aston Villa and can challenge Stephen Warnock for the left-back spot.

The 28-year-old joined Championship side Nottingham Forest on loan in November with many tipping the two-time England international to leave Villa Park either in January or at the end of the season.

Despite signing Shorey from Reading in summer 2008, O'Neill is yet to be convinced that the defender is the right man for the left-back spot.

The former Leyton Orient man started the first three Premier League games of the season but was immediately demoted when Warnock arrived from Blackburn.

However O'Neill firmly believes Shorey has a future with the club and admits that he is not 'actively seeking' to sell his charge.

"Selling Nicky is not something that I am looking to do at this minute and nothing concrete has developed," he said.

"If there was an offer, I would sit down with Nicky and his agent to discuss it but I am not actively seeking (to sell him).

Fighting back

"Nicky thought when Stephen Warnock arrived that his chances would be limited at the time. But he is capable of fighting back.

"I think he is enjoying it immensely at Forest and he's playing which is what he wanted to do."

O'Neill reveals that the club are keeping tabs on Shorey during his stay at the City Ground and points out that the full-back has worked hard to improve the deficiencies in his game.

"We've had people at every game he's played in and I've also got the matches on DVD," he added.

"I think going forward he has done very well and if he tightens up his game defensively, he has loads to offer - and I think he has tried to do that."