Date: 11th January 2008 at 1:45pm
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Crewe Alexandra boss Steve Holland has admitted that the club have made an enquiry with Aston Villa regarding a young left back, believed to be Stephen O’Halloran.

The Railwaymen are looking for a short-term replacement defender ahead of their League One clash against Leeds United, following the news that injured star Billy Jones, once tipped for greater things, will be sidelined for up to eight weeks with a cartilage injury. It is believed that O’Halloran is the first target for the club however should a loan deal not be arranged, they have backups already organised.

O’Halloran is one of three Villa academy products believed to be departing Villa Park in this transfer window, with Leicester close to agreeing a short-term deal for Isaiah Osbourne and Sheffield United making further enquiries about the availability of defender Gary Cahill.

When asked about outgoings at Villa Park manager Martin O’Neill said:

“People I would be looking to send out on loan are young players who need first-team football. They have reached a point where they would benefit from games which they maybe aren’t getting here.

“There will be things happening here between now and the end of January which I think will benefit the club and the players.”

The Crewe boss, who took over from long-standing manager Dario Gradi in the summer (kind of) spoke to the official website, Crewealex.net:

‘With the news that Billy [Jones] could be out for up to eight weeks we could do with bringing in a left-back as soon as possible.

‘I have contacted Aston Villa about a young full-back. He is available for loan now but he has a few options on the table. He is set to meet his manager and decide on his next move. I have spoken to Neil McDonald there and he says once he decides and if it is favourable towards Crewe then we will be contacted by the player or his agent.

‘That is way Aston Villa wanted to handle the situation and as yet we have not heard anything from them, so that does appear unlikely at the moment. If that doesn’t materialise then we will just move on to the next target on our list because we have a few in mind.’