GARETH SOUTHGATE has asked about Marlon Harewood’s availability after learning that Aston Villa are in the hunt to sign Emile Heskey from Wigan this month.

While any sale of Heskey would lead to Wigan manager Steve Bruce stepping up his interest in Middlesbrough striker Mido, Southgate has earmarked Harewood as a possible replacement.

Middlesbrough are also known to have had Hibernian striker Steven Fletcher watched again during the Edinburgh derby with Hearts over the weekend, but the call to Villa highlights options are being assessed.

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The 29-year-old is out of favour at Villa Park, where 17- year-old Nathan Delfouneso was preferred for the FA Cup tie at Gillingham on Sunday.

And while Villa manager Martin O’Neill paid £4m for the former West Ham striker in July 2007, he is available after making just one league start for the Villans.

If Southgate does decide to follow up his tentative enquiries then he is likely to face competition from Stoke, who are hoping to secure a £2m deal this month.

The Middlesbrough manager, though, needs to sell before paying money for any new faces.

Mido would be his preferred choice to depart this month, despite strong interest in Stewart Downing and Gary O’Neil.