McLeish seeks strength in depth
Alex McLeish admits Aston Villa need to acquire greater strength in depth after being reduced to 11 fit senior players via injuries to winger Charles N'Zogbia and full-back Alan Hutton.
McLeish had to field a substitutes' bench of six Academy products during Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Arsenal. The absence of N'Zogbia and Hutton for up to four and three weeks respectively with knee and calf setbacks will place an even greater strain on his squad for the remainder of the campaign.
McLeish said: "Arsenal were able to throw on a couple of players worth £30 million. Don't forget the disparity between us, in terms of quality and the strength of squad. Longer term we need more depth, absolutely."
He added: "I had six kids on the bench at Arsenal, the guys that have come through the Academy and one goalkeeper (Brad Guzan) who is over 25.
"It was a big ask going down to the last 11 senior players that we have and now we've lost Alan Hutton as well while Charles N'Zogbia's knee means he will be out for three to four weeks."
McLeish will still have to be mindful of reducing the club's wage bill when he comes to overhauling his squad this summer.
He said: "There'll be a bit of prudence. We've still got to get to a level where Randy Lerner (Villa owner) and the club want the wages. We've have to get to that level and then build from there. But I believe that there are players out there who can enhance the quality of the squad."
McLeish can understand the frustration of the Villa fans at lying 15th in the table but insists it is a period of transition.
He said: "Listen, I'm used to - having not been the manager until this season - expecting Villa to be in the upper tiers of the Barclays Premier League. I can understand that's what the fans want for their team.
"When you're wearing that jersey it's Villa, the heritage, but we are a team, definitely a club, in transition."