11 February 2013 11:02

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has hinted defender Richard Dunne is set to be offered a new contract at the club.

The Republic of Ireland international, who has yet to play a game this season following a lengthy battle with injury, will be a free agent when his contract expires in the off-season.

But, despite the 33-year-old having undergone surgery on three occasions to overcome hip and groin complaints this term, his manager is keen to tie him down.

“It is not a case of running out of time,” Lambert told reporters when asked about Dunne’s contract. “I know what the guy can do. It is not as if he is 19 or 20 years old and has to impress.

“I have an open mind but the main thing for me is that he is going to be fit again.”

Dunne travelled to Philadelphia last week to visit the surgeon who carried out his third operation, and Lambert is confident the centre-back’s recovery will run smoothly.

“We will have to wait and see what the surgeon has said about the injury,” he said.

“I am pretty sure that he will not require another operation. The advice that Richard has been given is that he will just have to battle through the problem.

“First and foremost the main thing is to get the guy back to fitness. That is the big thing for me. There is nothing in my mind other than getting that lad fit.”

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