Nottingham Forest fought off competition from Championship rivals Leeds United to secure the signature of Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner, the BBC’s Adam Pope has revealed.

The midfielder re-joined Forest on Friday afternoon, but it has now been revealed that they were not the only club looking to strike a deal with the player.

Leeds United boss Steve Evans has previously stated that he will look to add new faces to the Leeds squad and has already done so in the loan signings of Liam Bridcutt from Sunderland and Mustapha Carayol from Championship rivals Middlesbrough.

Gardner has previously spent time on-loan at Nottingham Forest, and they will now see the player back in action for the East Midlands side as they look to push up the Championship table. Gardner featured 18 times in his first loan spell for the club.

An injury picked up in pre-season has meant that Gardner’s first team chances at Aston Villa were significantly reduced, but he is now available to Forest boss Dougie Freedman ahead of the weekend’s FA Cup fixtures.

The attempt to sign Gardner may signal that Leeds are looking to improve the midfield area, and they may now explore other options in an attempt to strengthen their squad.

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Editor. Report on the Football League as a whole with a focus on the Sky Bet Championship. Feature on the FL72 show on Radio Yorkshire, every Tuesday from 6-7pm.

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