By Dan Harrison
Richard Dunne has declared himself ready to help Villa win their battle for survival after recovering from a broken collarbone.
Dunne is in line for a return to the action in Saturday's crunch West Midlands derby showdown against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.
The Irish defender insists he is ready for the rough and tumble of a relegation scrap after working hard to get back to fitness.
His last appearance for Villa came in the 1-0 defeat against former club Manchester City in February.
"I'm back in training, I'm easing my way back in and joining in with the lads," he said. "I'm available for Saturday, we'll see what happens.
"It's been hard watching because we're all mates and you can see that the performances haven't been poor but the results haven't gone for us.
"You have to be out there trying to help people, so it is frustrating.
"I've made myself available because I want to go and help and be part of helping the squad stay up.
"Everyone should be excited and very determined to go out and win tackles, win header and win everything.
"We've got to walk off the pitch on Saturday knowing we've done our jobs and hopefully got three points from it."
Dunne has embarked on a mini pre-season to ensure he is back for the vital run-in.
He has put thoughts of Ireland's Euro 2012 campaign to one side for now with Villa's battle for top-flight safety his top priority.
"I'm not going to be a million per cent fit because I've not played for a while," he added.
"I've done a mini pre-season over the last few weeks and my shoulder is stronger than ever.
"I could go and play in a friendly for Ireland and pull my hamstring a day before the tournament, so there is no point me thinking 'I can't do this, I can't do that because I might get injured'.
"I'm back, I'm fit and I'm ready to go."
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