Socceroo Chris Herd has received a lifeline at his English Premier League club Aston Villa by avoiding a post-season cull.
After barely featuring for Villa this season, the out-of-contract Australian was expected to be released to seek new opportunities.
But the 26-year-old utility will stay on with the FA Cup finalists after manager Tim Sherwood decided to retain him through the summer until he is fully fit.
Herd was selected by coach Ange Postecoglou for the Asian Cup but did not play due to an Achilles injury.
On his return to the UK, Herd was loaned to Championship club Wigan, where he suffered a season-ending knee injury in February.
Herd has yet to play under Sherwood, who was appointed in the same month.
Villa released record signing Darren Bent and 13 others on Monday – a direct response to a disappointing season in which they flirted with relegation before finishing in 17th place.