Date: 4th August 2008 at 11:56am
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Curtis Davies says he is feeling good and pushing for a starting place in the Uefa Cup game on Aug 14.

He told www.avfc.co.uk: ‘I needed to see how the injury would react to this sort of test. If we have the sort of season we’re aiming for with a run in Europe I need to show I can play, have a day off and then play another game. To play 90 minutes is the next goal and hopefully I can do that next week. But two games in three days – two 60-minute run-outs – is not bad really after five months off. I didn’t need to push the manager to select me. He was just trying to protect me, so he did not put any pressure on me to come back but I am back now and he has seen that I was ready.’

He also says, following an injury, you have to just go for it as you can’t hold back from putting in challenges or worry about picking up more problems. And despite others saying he could be out until October, Davies said he was always focussed on being back and ready for the new season.

Martin O’Neill meanwhile says he is ‘pleasantly surprised’ but says he won’t rush the central defender who completed his permanent move to Villa from the Baggies this summer.

‘He’s done amazingly well but he’s still well short of what I would call serious match practice….Saturday was great for him against a very good set of forwards. His sharpness is obviously something he’ll be working on but it was really great to see him back.’

Could be a major boost, he certainly – following his infamous pub player debut (!) – came on leaps and bounds last season and left a gaping hole in the defence when he picked up his Achilles heal injury.