Tim Sherwood has expressed his delight at fending off interest from West Brom to tie down Ciaran Clark on a new five-year contract that commits him to Aston Villa until 2020.
Villa's Midlands neighbours were viewing Clark as a possible recruit this summer, but Sherwood views the Irish international as part of his long-term plans.
The 25-year-old showed improved form last year under Sherwood after coming through a rocky patch in his development, although his campaign ended on a low note when injury ruled him out of their FA Cup final loss to Arsenal at Wembley.
"Ciaran wears his heart on his sleeve," said Sherwood. "He was unfortunate with injuries last season but he looks sharp now and we want to keep him fit.
"You know what you're going to get from Ciaran - he gives everything for the cause."
Clark added: "I'm absolutely thrilled to sign a new contract. I've been at Aston Villa since I was a kid and I want to continue to play for this fantastic club."
The player's next target will be to progress his standing in the Irish camp. Martin O'Neill, who gave him his Villa debut, has favoured Marc Wilson as a left-sided defensive partner for John O'Shea. Fitness issues have stopped Clark from making a proper push for inclusion.
Meanwhile, former Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews has confirmed that he will not be registering as a player for this season after his appointment as first team coach by MK Dons.
The Championship newcomers confirmed earlier this week that Andrews would be taking up the role under Karl Robinson.
Andrews, 34, was Ireland's best player at Euro 2012 but has endured a frustrating time since then with stints at Bolton, Brighton and Watford not entirely ending as planned. He played five times with MK Dons after moving there in February.
"I absolutely love my new role and this is the perfect place for me to start learning," he said. "It's where I want to ply my trade."
Watford have loaned Irish U-21 international Sean Murray to Wigan for a month.
New Sligo Rovers boss Micky Adams has not ruled out bringing in players from England to help him out, yet he has stressed that the existing squad will be given a chance to prove themselves.
"It's a fresh start and a new feeling on the training ground, and that is no disrespect to the managers that were there before," he said.
Galway United's promising young striker Pádraic Cunningham requires surgery to repair knee cartilage damage after an innocuous fall in training on Sunday.