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By ESPN Staff

Hendrie admits to eyeing Villa exit

Lee Hendrie has insisted there is no rift with Aston Villa manager David O'Leary but admitted he may have to consider leaving the midlands club to obtain regular first team football.

Hendrie came off the substitutes' bench to replace hamstring injury victim Eirik Bakke and score Villa's goal in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at the hands of West Ham at Villa Park.

But he knows he could be again on the sidelines with the return next weekend of Gareth Barry for the trip to Tottenham.

Hendrie will always be grateful to O'Leary for showing faith in him after his his days looked numbered during Graham Taylor's reign as manager.

But the 28-year is desperate to play on a regular basis at this juncture of his career.

Hendrie told PA Sport: 'Am I getting to the stage where I might have to leave? Possibly, you've got to think of all the alternatives that you are going to come across. I've said from day one that I need to be playing.

'I don't want to go a full season, look back and think I've made six or seven appearances because that isn't me. I've looked at the last few seasons and I've played 20-plus games all the time.

'I don't want to waste a season. That's my main issue. I want to play football. Who in their right mind doesn't want to play football? I'd love to play football here every week.'

Hendrie added: 'There is nothing I can say to the manager. I can't go in and say `play me' because the gaffer is going to make his decisions. All I can do is keep giving him a headache and let my football do the talking.

'I don't want to go in there ranting and raving because I've got a good understanding with the gaffer. If we've got a problem, we speak about it and that's the way we have been over the period he's been here.

'We've not had a fall-out. I've never had a rift with the gaffer. When he came to Villa, he pushed me back to what I was, playing football every week and doing my job, and I respect him for that.

'But I don't want to be a back-up option at 28.'