Clark: Return of inspirational Dunne will keep me on my toes
Ciaran Clark is relishing the competition with "influential" defender Richard Dunne when his central defensive colleague returns to full fitness.
Clark paid tribute to Dunne for the backing he has received from the Republic of Ireland star since he has broken into Villa's first team.
But the academy graduate admits he will do everything to hold on to his place in the back four when his compatriot returns from a groin injury.
"There's a lot of good players in the squad now who can play all across the back four," said Clark.
"When you look at the squad now, no-one can take a place for granted at all.
"There's so much competition and you can see that every day in training.
"Everyone wants a place in the squad and that can always be good for Villa.
"Dunney is brilliant. He's been there quite a while and I've learned so much from him.
"I'm hoping I can keep learning from him. I'm sure Dunney will be a part of it.
"I'm sure he will help the young lads improve their careers as well."
Clark reckons he has learned plenty from Dunne since the former Manchester City stopper's arrival at Villa in August 2009.
He is looking forward to seeing the experienced centre-back on the training field again.
"He's an influential player," added the 23-year-old.
"I've been here for four or five years since he's been here.
"Everyday in training I've managed to learn little bits off him, and he's spoken to me about the game and gave me advice about what I can do to keep on learning.
"It must be a frustrating time for him, but hopefully it won't be too much longer before he is back, and then that will add further competition for everyone so that will be brilliant."
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