Date: 27th June 2008 at 3:33pm
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Zat Knight has spoken previously about willing to be a squad player BUT fighting for the first team. But he’s relishing his chance next season.

After seeing Davies come in and keep him out last season, Knight has the chance to get one back up on the youngster who will still be out injured for a few months.

Currently our only fit centre halves are Laursen and Knight, and with Laursen ‘the given’ selection, Knight is hoping he can perform and impress and repay the favour to Davies and make him warm the bench for a bit when he is fit.

‘Before I signed the manager asked me if I was up for a challenge because at the time he had three centre halves and he also wanted to bring in Curtis.

‘But that’s what I always want! I’m confident in my ability and life’s about challenges.

‘At Fulham, there wasn’t really enough competition for me and maybe that’s why I underachieved at times.

‘But at Villa, I have to keep on my toes because if I have a bad game, someone else will be given an opportunity.’

We all know O’Neill likes his battlers and opinions are split on whether Knight was a worthy signing, opinions are further split on us letting Cahill go in the end but we have seen from Sleepy that when he is on form he is good enough, it’s just the consistency elements that are frustrating.

‘I’m used to playing week in and week out and I don’t like the idea of preparing all week if I’m not going to be involved in the game!

‘I thought I built a good relationship with Martin Laursen last season and I think we complement each other, so defensively we are quite strong.

‘I’ll have Curtis breathing down my neck when he is back from injury and the manager might be looking to bring in more defensive reinforcements too.

‘But if I keep putting in good performances, hopefully I will get the nod in the side.’

It’s going to be a long season so everyone will have plenty of games and opportunities, it really will come down to who can keep the most reliable form.