WANDERERS are poised to agree a deal with Aston Villa to re-sign Stephen Warnock on loan but will have to wait until January to bring him back to the Reebok.
It is understood that the full-back will return to the Midlands after Saturday’s clash with Peterborough United on a temporary basis but that the two clubs are close to settling on a second spell, which would kick into gear next month.
Warnock is out of contract in the summer and has been deemed surplus to requirements by Paul Lambert.
Villa are holding out for Wanderers to pay a bigger share of his wages but the disparity that once looked to have threatened the deal is no longer an issue.
It does, however, leave Dougie Freedman with a defensive reshuffle on his hands for the Boxing Day game against Sheffield Wednesday, the home clash with Birmingham City on December 29 and potentially the New Year’s Day meeting with Leeds United.
With Warnock unavailable, Marcos Alonso could be drafted in on the left for his first appearances since the start of the month. The young Spanish defender has started just once under Freedman, against Ipswich Town, and was an unused substitute in last weekend’s victory over Charlton Athletic.
Warnock is also one of four players sweating on one-match suspensions over the festive fixture list.
Although the former England international’s return to Villa ensures that even if he picks up a booking against Peterborough, it would not affect Wanderers, three other men will be hoping to survive the next three games unscathed before the yellow card amnesty comes into effect on New Year’s Eve.
Kevin Davies, Darren Pratley and Zat Knight are all stuck on four yellow cards, with one more guaranteeing them a one-match ban.
Mark Davies and Tyrone Mears have both served suspensions already this season after picking up five bookings, missing the games against Blackburn Rovers and Huddersfield Town respectively.
Meanwhile, reports have linked Premier League Stoke City with a move for Chung-Yong Lee in the January transfer window.
The Korean has been mentioned as a target for Tony Pulis before and the rumour may well have emerged because of a recent appointment at the Britannia Stadium.
Mark Cartwright, recently installed as the Potters’ technical director, helped broker the deal that brought Chung-Yong from FC Seoul to the Reebok in summer 2009 for £2.2million on behalf of Stoke-based agency Beswicks.
The company were also involved in the transfers of Tim Ream, Tyrone Mears and Chris Eagles.