McLeish rules out panic buys

Villa boss keeping it cool in the January transfer window

Darren Bent: Aston Villa spent heavily in 2011, including a £20million purchase of the striker

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Alex McLeish insists Aston Villa will not be forced into panic signings when the January transfer window opens.

The Midlands outfit are 12th in the table as they approach the mid-season milestone, but have won just two of their last seven games.

They have made a number of big-money signings in the last 12 months, including the acquisition of Darren Bent for nearly £20million and Charles N'Zogbia for nearly £10million.

However, after Jermaine Jenas' recent Achilles injury, meaning he had to return to Tottenham after being ruled out for six months, a midfielder may be on the wish-list for McLeish.

But the former Birmingham boss insists that he will operate in a cautious manner this January.

Panicky

He said: "January can be a bit of a panicky window but we have got to be sensible and trade carefully.

"Whether there is a lot of business here at Villa (in January) is doubtful.

"I don't think we will see much. I've said since the summer we've got to trade carefully and, for something to happen, we have to try and balance it out by someone going off the wage bill.

"That is the way we are working at the moment. There are no out and out targets as such.

"I know where I need to strengthen the team but whether that is going to be in January remains to be seen."

Injury update

Meanwhile, Aston Villa hope to be able to welcome back a number of first-team players by the start of 2012.

Striker Bent and defender James Collins are both expected to play against Chelsea on New Year's Eve.

Emile Heskey is unlikely to be available, but should be involved in the encounter with Swansea two days later.

McLeish said: "He (Bent) had a good session and he'll train with the team tomorrow, and he'll travel with the team to London if he comes through tomorrow's session and would be available for selection.

"Heskey is out of Saturday, he has got an Achilles problem. But it's not something serious and we just have to manage that one and he could be back on Monday (against Swansea).

"Again it is manageable (with James Collins). He had a little agitation in his Achilles. He played brilliantly through it in the second half at Stoke.

"He has been back out training and is also getting on-going treatment."