Date: 7th February 2006 at 11:48am
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Villa have agreed an improved contract for young midfielder Craig Gardner who will sign on the dotted line today.

The deal will keep the player at Villa Park until June 2009. The 19-year-old looks set for his first Premiership start this weekend against Newcastle as Gavin McCann is banned and James Milner isn’t able to feature due to the terms of the loan deal.

Gardner made his debut in the second half on Boxing day in the 4-0 win over Everton. He also featured in the win over local rivals West Bromwich Albion.

Gordon ‘Sid’ Cowans has praised Craig Gardner for the progress he has made.

The Academy coach says the midfielder has what it takes. High praise coming from Sid.

He told www.avfc.co.uk: “Of all the kids who have come through the ranks here, he has one of the best attitudes. He gives everything he’s got – whether it be in training or in a match. He’s also a very gifted player and a good all-rounder, someone who goes box-to-box. He defends, gets forward and also scores goals. He’s got two good feet, great vision and great passing ability.”