Delph determined to repay Lerner
Fabian Delph is driven to save Aston Villa from relegation in order to thank owner Randy Lerner for not showing him the door at the club.
Lerner spent £6 million to lure Delph to Villa Park from Leeds United in 2009, but the investment in the England Under-21 international has returned just 36 appearances because of a string of serious injuries.
Delph, who has become known as "Dr Delph" at the club because of his catalogue of problems, admits many other owners would have lost patience and cut their losses.
But even during the midfielder's darkest days, Lerner sanctioned a contract extension in 2011, which will keep him at the club for another two years.
"My contract is not up at the end of the season. That's the main reason why I have massive respect for the chairman because what he has done for me is fantastic," said Delph. "He's been supportive and I have been injured a lot. He's been one of the main figures that has been really positive towards me and told me to keep going.
"He is a really humble nice man and he loves the football club. He invested money in me. You see people who buy the players and they haven't hit the levels that they should do and next thing you know they are out the window and out the door.
"This chairman has been totally supportive of me and it's about repaying him and repaying the fans as well because they have shown me tremendous patience. It's nice to be fit!" Delph admits he has not hit the heights expected of him when he signed from Leeds because of the run of injuries which have blighted his time at Villa Park.
"I have been injured for three years solid. I have always had something. I ruptured my anterior cruciate ligament, I had sutures in my lateral meniscus, I had medial damage. Then I came back from that and had another injury with a medial ligament," he said.
"Then I had an ankle injury, I came back and got a knee injury. I could go on all day. We would be here all day if I keep going.
"I've become known as Dr Delph! Whenever anyone gets injured the lads seem to look at me. I think I have told a few of the lads when they have rolled their ankles this season honestly lads, I think it is your ATFL (anterior talofibular ligament). I am serious, Dr Delph... They've gone for a scan and said 'you were right I've done my ATFL!'
"I've had a lot of injuries and thanks to the medical staff and people around me I've been lucky enough to have some great support. I've managed to get stronger.
"I feel like I am getting stronger, finding a tiny bit of form and do my best for the club. If I keep my place in the team and do well for the club I'll be the happiest man alive."