McLeish: Keane can be a hero

McLeish: Keane can be a hero

Published Jan. 20, 2012 1:17 p.m. ET

Keane is in contention to make his first Villa start after appearing as a late substitute against Everton last weekend following the completion of his loan move from the Los Angeles Galaxy.

He began his career with Wolves before moving to Coventry and then a host of other clubs, but has always received a warm welcome on his return to Molineux.

McLeish said: "We know Robbie is only here for a short space of time and it is about assessing his fitness and getting him into the right formula in the team.

"Players have been doing well in the team and it's not as easy as saying 'right you are out - Robbie is in'.


"You can only pick 11 players but, of course, we are considering Robbie. He has trained well the last couple of weeks.

"We will definitely look to see Robbie involved tomorrow and maybe for much longer than he was last week.

"I'm sure the Wolves fans will give him a good welcome. He did very well there, he was a hero there so we hope he can be a hero for Villa tomorrow."

But the Scot admitted: "The result will make a difference to whether I have a good night or not on my (53rd) birthday.

"I told my wife 'don't make plans - we will just ad lib'. Normally when we do that, we get a good result!"

McLeish is aware Villa have to be wary of the threat posed by Wolves' nine-goal top scorer Steven Fletcher.

Fletcher was a youngster at Hibernian during McLeish's spell in charge of the Edinburgh club.

He said: "He had a good spell at the end of last season which helped to keep Wolves in the Premier League.

"Again he has started this season very brightly so Fletcher is cementing himself into the Premier League as a top player."

Villa have not been beaten by Wolves at Molineux for 33 years - a run of 10 games.

But McLeish insisted: "Stats won't determine the outcome of this game. It is who does the best on the day.

"Sometimes you can need a bit of luck because you can play great and something might go against you."

McLeish will again be without midfielder Chris Herd (ankle) and striker Emile Heskey (Achilles) while midfielder Fabian Delph has been allowed to join his former club Leeds on loan to regain match fitness.

"We felt Fabian is at the stage of his career, after suffering with a bad injury for a long period, where he needed to get games," McLeish added.

"We've got to test his levels for everyone going forward, for both Fabian and us. Ciaran Clark has been doing really well in central midfield. It would be difficult for Fabian to get a look-in."