Aston Villa are ready to battle QPR for the signature of Peterborough's £4m-rated Dwight Gayle, according to reports in the Express & Star.

The 22-year-old hot-shot has been linked with a switch to QPR after Harry Redknapp watched him at Crystal Palace on the closing day of the Championship season.

The Posh lost 3-2 that day and their subsequent relegation has attracted numerous clubs to the potential availability of the diminutive striker, who only moved to London Road for £500,000 in January. 

Cardiff had also been credited with an interest in the striker, who grabbed 13 goals for Darren Ferguson's side, but reports suggest they'll now face strong competition from Villa.

Speculation comes just a day after Villa's Premier League survival was confirmed thanks to Wigan's 4-1 defeat against Arsenal. Paul Lambert will hope his side can improve on a campaign which has seen them constantly battling with relegation.

Former striker Stan Collymore is confident the team will push on, he said: "Now we're safe, I think most of us are confident the lads can really kick on next season."

Lambert has been known to give young players a chance in the Premier League with both Matthew Lowton and Ashley Westwood being regulars for his team this season.

Collymore doesn't believe Villa's philosophy of putting faith in youth is the reason for their struggles this season.

The man who cost Villa £7m in 1997 said: "We have all talked about the youthful nature of PauL Lambert's team but when you get to this stage of the season it doesn't matter whether you are 35 or 17."

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