Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill is optimistic full-back Wilfred Bouma can play a part in the final quarter of the season and help the push for a Champions League spot.
Bouma made his competitive comeback after eight months out with a dislocated ankle during a midweek reserve clash with Chelsea at Villa Park.
And former Celtic boss O'Neill said: "I'm really pleased to see Wilfred back. It's nice for him to have got a game under his belt. While he still has a way to go in terms of proper fitness and getting over everything, I'd be hoping that he will be able to come and help us along in the final stretch of the season."
He added: "He certainly has his determination, enthusiasm and drive back.
"The rest will be a bit of a process now over the next couple of weeks. But I hope that reserve game will hasten things on for him."
Bouma's injury led to O'Neill signing Nicky Shorey from Reading as a replacement.
But he has failed to convince the Villa boss he should play on a regular basis and Luke Young has been switched from right-back to fill the gap.
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