Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has revealed that Curtis Davies is close to earning a recall to his first XI.
Davies, who is on an initial loan from West Brom ahead of a potential permanent deal, experienced an unimpressive debut as Villa were dumped out of the Carling Cup by Midlands rivals Leicester in September.
However, O'Neill has said that the defender - who has yet to start a Premier League game for Villa - can become a 'big player' at Villa Park.
"Curtis Davies has come here and he has said himself this is the longest spell he has been out of the first team anywhere in his career," said O'Neill.
"But I haven't signed him for four or five games, I've signed him for the next x number of years and I want him to be a really big player for Aston Villa which I am sure he can be.
"This current spell - although he may not see it like this - will give him some sort of incentive so when he gets into the team, as he will inevitably, that he is in there to stay.
"He is pushing for a place. His reserve performances have been excellent and he is improving.
"He wasn't best pleased with his performance against Leicester in the Carling Cup but that is not to be held against him forever and a day."