John Ruddy could return for Norwich's relegation six-pointer against Aston Villa

A torn thigh muscle has kept Ruddy out of action since November. Photo: PA

Norwich manager Chris Hughton must decide whether to hand goalkeeper John Ruddy his long-awaited return to action in this weekend's crunch Barclays Premier League clash against Aston Villa at Carrow Road.

The 26-year-old, who made his single England appearance last year, has not featured for the Canaries since the draw at Everton on November 24 after needing surgery on a torn muscle in his thigh.

However, after stepping up his rehabilitation in recent weeks with a couple of matches for the Under-21s side, Hughton revealed Ruddy is "fit and available" for a match which could see Norwich secure their top-flight status.

"What we are conscious of is he has been out for a long time, but John has had a period of training now and has played some development games, so we will make the decisions in house," said Hughton.

"Also, I have to think about Mark Bunn, who overall has done very well for us.

"I have to consider all of those things, but I am very conscious of where John is at this moment."

Norwich head into the clash with Villa, and former manager Paul Lambert, within touching distance of safety on 38 points.

Despite the Canaries' poor current run of only two Premier League wins this year, Hughton's men remain difficult to beat at home, having not lost in Norfolk since a 1-0 defeat by Chelsea on Boxing Day.

"It is an opportunity for us to get valuable points at this stage of the season, and our home form has been very good," said Hughton, whose side are six clear of 18th-placed Wigan, albeit having played a match more.

"We have continually said it is always going to be in our hands.

"It is nice when other results go for you, with other teams not picking up points, but it is always about what we do.

"We have three games left, two at home, and for us to be exactly where we want to be next season it will be about us getting the points and not having to rely on anyone else."

Hughton added: "Generally on most occasions you would like to think that one more win would be enough now, but we are in a season where it is that unpredictable that I dont think any of us can be sure."

Villa have won three of their past seven to move out of the drop zone, now five clear of Wigan after they thumped Sunderland 6-1 on Monday night, when Belgian striker Christian Benteke crashed in a hat-trick.

"I was there at the game and Villa will come here on the back of a very good performance," Hughton said.

"But we have to concentrate very much on ourselves and what we need to do to win. We have a fabulous crowd and they will again get behind us, like they did against Reading, so we have to look at the positives."

Defender Sebastien Bassong is expected to be fit after an ankle problem, but fellow centre-half Michael Turner (groin) remains out.

Forward Kei Kamara will play the last game of his loan spell from Sporting Kansas City, with no confirmation yet of whether the deal will be made permanent.

Hughton said: "We have until Monday to make the decision, and there have been conversations between us, but those will be kept private as we concentrate on the job in hand, and that is making sure we put ourselves in a position on Saturday where we are going to get a result."

Hughton, meanwhile, also "absolutely dismissed" reports winger Anthony Pilkington was set for a summer move to Stoke and that West Brom were planning to hijack Norwich's £8million transfer of Dutch forward Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon should the Canaries get relegated.