Aston Villa boss Remi Garde has insisted that American goalkeeper Brad Guzan is still an option for him this season, despite having used him sporadically since the turn of the year, following a host of disappointing displays earlier in the season.
Mark Bunn has stepped up in his place, keeping goal in Villa's last six Premier League matches, the latest of which a 6-0 defeat to Liverpool, with Guzan forced to watch on from the bench.
Garde praises the attitude of Guzan
This had led to rumours, that given Villa are out of the FA Cup, the veteran 'keeper was unlikely to make another appearance for the Villans this season, as their slide to the Championship continues. His club next season is also yet to be determined, with reports linking him with a move home to play in the MLS.
However, speaking to the club website, manager Garde stressed that such reports had little foundation, saying; "I don't want to rule Brad out completely because I know he is an experienced player".
Admitting that "his situation is not easy at the moment", Garde praised the experienced man for "training very well", whilst also "backing Mark [Bunn]".
Will the impressive Bunn be displaced?
Bar the home humiliation against Jürgen Klopp's Reds last weekend, Bunn has been doing fairly well since filling in for Guzan. Saving a penalty to secure a draw against league leaders Leicester City, he's also kept clean sheets agains West Brom, Crystal Palace and Norwich City, with Villa picking up seven points from those three games.
Despite Bunn's promising displays, and popularity amongst the fanbase, Garde did comment that the goalkeeping situation "is not completely definitive".
He warned that "every player, even in this position, has to perform very well", because there's huge competition for places, Garde stating that he's "not saying in time it will be the same situation".