Stephen Warnock is moving closer to a departure from Aston Villa after being forced to train with the club's development squad.
Villa manager Paul Lambert has made no secret of his desire to move Warnock on from Villa Park and has held discussions with the left-back to inform him he no longer has a future at the club. Warnock, 30, was omitted from the squad Lambert took to play Werder Bremen in Villa's final pre-season game and was also left out of the 18-man squad for the Premier League defeat against West Ham United. And now Lambert is looking to force Warnock's departure ahead of the end of the transfer window after instructing him to train away from the first team at the club's Bodymoor Heath headquarters. The Scot is eager to remove Warnock's estimated £45,000-a-week salary off the club's wage bill and continue his clear out of the old guard he inherited after taking over this summer. Carlos Cuellar and James Collins have already been allowed to leave and Richard Dunne is another who could potentially be moved on after entering the final year of his existing contract. Lambert is looking to bring in a new left back, with Blackburn Rovers' Martin Olsson and Ipswich Town's Aaron Cresswell under consideration. One possibility is offering Warnock plus a cash fee to try to tempt Rovers into allowing Olsson to leave Ewood Park, weeks after the Sweden international handed in a transfer request. Rovers are prepared to take Warnock on loan for 12 months with the offer of a contract at the end of the season, although the 30-year-old would prefer to remain in the Premier League. His former Villa manager Martin O'Neill, who paid £8 million for the defender in 2009 and is now at Sunderland, is also monitoring the situation after Kieran Richardson announced his desire to leave the Wearsiders.