Leeds United’s hopes of a successful double loan swoop to sign Fabian Delph and Eric Lichaj appear unlikely – with the latter expected to remain at Aston Villa this transfer window.
United are keen to reinvigorate their Championship play-off drive, having targetted ex-Elland Road midfielder Delph this month, with former loan defender Lichaj, who spent a productive stint at United in the second half of last term, another thought to be high on their January shopping list.
Villa have opened the door for Delph to move out on loan in this window, but USA international Lichaj is set to stay put at Villa Park after only recently returning to training after being out for four months following a hip operation.
Lichaj is regarded as the main cover for current regular right-back Alan Hutton and with the Scottish international’s recent form having been inconsistent over the past few months, the 23-year-old could be handed his opportunity at first-team level by boss Alex McLeish in the near future.
The Villa chief has shown no hesitation in handing extended opportunities to several of Lichaj’s former Academy colleagues already this term, with the likes of Chris Herd and Ciaran Clark sampling some invaluable first-team experience and several others part of the matchday squad.
But despite being tipped to make Lichaj available for loan after his spell on the sidelines since September, McLeish is expected to hold onto Lichaj for the time being and take an opportunity to have a look at the Illnois-born full-back.
Lichaj has featured just once under McLeish - finding the net in Villa’s 2-0 Carling Cup win over Hereford United in August - shortly before going under the knife for surgery.
Meanwhile, it’s understood that Villa haven’t yet received official contact from United regarding Delph, who left West Yorkshire in a £6m move in, according to sources in the West Midlands - although a firming up of their position is likely this week.
Delph signed a new four-year deal tying him to Villa until 2015 last March, but if United were able to stump up enough of his five-figure wages and the appropriate recall clause was inserted into the deal, that Villa would seemingly be happy for him to return to his former club.
Injury-jinxed defender Ben Parker is will continue his comeback trial for United in this afternoon’s behind-closed doors clash with Glasgow Celtic at Thorp Arch.
Mikael Forssell, Lloyd Sam, Paul Connolly and Maik Taylor will also feature.