Villa end Gardner's loan

Midfielder may face Arsenal after being summoned back from Coventry

Gary Gardner: Impressed on loan at Coventry but has been recalled by Aston Villa

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Aston Villa have recalled Gary Gardner from his loan spell at Coventry City in order to boost numbers in Alex McLeish's squad.

The highly-rated England Under 21 international joined the Sky Blues on a one-month deal on 24th November, with Villa unable to call him back until after 28 days at the earliest.

That period passed on Wednesday and McLeish has wasted little time activating the recall, with Gardner now poised to go straight into Villa's squad for Wednesday night's clash at home to Arsenal.

The 19-year-old was due to remain at Coventry until 3rd January, meaning he will now play no part in the fixtures against Bristol City, Brighton and West Ham over the festive period.

Gardner - younger brother of Sunderland midfielder Craig - earned positive reviews during his brief stint at the Ricoh Arena, starting all four Championship matches during his time there and scoring on what was his Football League debut in a 2-1 defeat at Brighton.

However, his impact was not enough to prevent four successive defeats as Coventry slipped to the foot of the second tier table.

The news comes as a blow to City's survival bid but boss Andy Thorn, who was hoping to be able to extend Gardner's stay, will be banking on Villa's treatment room clearing and paving the way for a possible reunion.