Date: 16th July 2008 at 3:29pm
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Martin O’Neill has confirmed that Martin Laursen was simply rested for last nights friendly against Lincoln.

However Villa do have other concerns, with O’Neill yet to find out on the fitness of Craig Gardner. But it’s expected John Carew will be ok for Odense.

Speaking on the official site, O’Neill explained:

‘Martin Laursen played the game on Saturday and that was always our intention for him to play just the one game.

‘John Carew felt a bit tight at half-time. I think he could have continued on but there was no point in taking a risk.

‘During pre-season we want to keep our senior players on as much as possible but by the same token we have been back in training for just 12 days.’

O’Neill also admitted that the selection for last nights friendly shows up just how badly we need to improve the squad.

‘Yes I think it highlights that fact. Craig Gardner got injured yesterday morning so we asked Nigel Reo-Coker to play right-back which was a problem position for us last season.

‘Olof Mellberg did brilliantly for us for most of the year. Freddie Bouma came back but he has only had a days training so we put him in at centre-back where he has played for Holland just to get him through the 45 minutes with Moustapha Salifou a midfielder playing at left-back.

‘We are progressing and in the next few weeks I would think we should be able to add to our squad.

‘Whether we do it by the end of the week, in the next 10 days or the next three weeks by the time the Premier League comes round we hope to be much stronger than we are at the minute. I think that is absolutely essential.

‘For the last year we have had the smallest squad in the Premier League. That is a situation I have said umpteen times I did not want to repeat this year in terms of injuries and suspensions.’