Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry says Martin Laursen's injury-free season is like welcoming a new signing.

"Martin's re-emergence into the first team has been fantastic for us," Barry said. "He's been out for so long that it felt like a new signing at the start of the season.

"Everyone knew how good a player he was by the games he has played for us but, because of injury, that hasn't been as many as he would have liked.

"Let's hope he can stay clear of injury all season because he's been a massive plus for us."