Nottingham Forest will face competition from Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion to sign loan midfielder Gary Gardner on a permanent basis according to the Nottingham Post.

The 23 year old Aston Villa academy product is currently on loan at The City Ground after falling out of favour at Villa Park and could be set for a permanent move away from the club in the summer.

Gardner has made 21 appearances for Nottingham Forest this season scoring twice. The Midlands club are expected to discuss the player’s future with Aston Villa with a view to signing the midfielder. It has been reported that Forest will face serious competition from Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion for the player’s services and the prospect of potential Premier League game time could force Gardner from Forest’s grasp.

The midfielder is contracted to Aston Villa until summer 2018 and it is understood that the Championship bound club may not want to lose the player to a rival club in the same division.

Nottingham Forest are set to exit a transfer embargo which has restricted the club’s transfer activity this season meaning that the club should be in a position to sign players again in the summer. Forest may need to submit a significant transfer bid to secure the signing of Gardner if Aston Villa are reluctant to sell the player.