Delaney offered incentive to impress

Aston Villa manager David O’Leary intends to offer defender Mark Delaney another new contract if the Welsh international proves himself over the next 12 months.

O’Leary is disappointed by the comments from Delaney, who expressed anger at Villa only taking up the 12-month option on his contract rather than offering him the long-term deal he desires.

Delaney claimed O’Leary had told him he could leave in the summer if Villa received any offers.

But the Villa boss says he wants the 29-year-old Welsh international to stay with the club he joined from Cardiff seven years ago.

O’Leary said: “Mark’s comments have been very disappointing. It’s always disappointing when a player makes his comments through the media.

“This is a player and agent who signed this contract with the option three years ago so they can have no complaints when we take up the option.

“Mark is probably one of the best-paid players at the club and we have stood by him through his injuries.

“He has only played 13 games this season and is out injured now but we have taken up the option for another year.”

O’Leary claimed: “We don’t want Mark to go and, if he proves himself over the next year, he will be rewarded again with another deal.

“This is not an unusual way of doing things nowadays. Take a great player like Dennis Bergkamp. He has been signing one-year extensions for years and there are no complaints from him.”

Meanwhile, Delaney’s agent Richard Rosser claimed the player could recover from a knee injury in time for next Saturday’s home clash with Portsmouth.

That will come as a relief to O’Leary with skipper Olof Mellberg ruled out of that match through suspension, as his only fit centre-backs at present are youngsters Liam Ridgewell and Gary Cahill.

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