Date: 4th July 2008 at 3:29pm
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Martin O’Neill welcomed the players back to Bodymoor Heath yesterday and promised the signings would soon come.

Speaking to the players and outlining his vision for the season, as well as no doubt covering the Barry debacle, O’Neill was upbeat and promised the players he would ‘bring in the reinforcements needed to help (them) next season.’

Villa are currently 3-4 players down on last seasons number, so it’s imperative O’Neill brings in not only quality but numbers this season.

We did get lucky in the last campaign with injuries and suspensions, we can’t run that risk again especially with a European offering on the cards.

Speaking on the official site, O’Neill said:

‘We’re hoping to try to add to the squad. The players did fantastically last season but we had the smallest squad in the Premier League and we wouldn’t want that to happen this season so we’re going to address it.

‘If Gareth had decided to stay we were still going to address it. Now it’s even more important to do it than ever.

‘It’s the time for anticipation now. Players are back for pre-season training and with the European Championships out of the way it’s obviously all systems go for everyone.’

In obviously what is a throwback to the Barry situation, he continued:

‘That’s not to say that people weren’t busy during the summertime. I went out and did some games for the BBC. I was working there for two or three days in the week then coming back and working here.

‘So it was not as if I spent three weeks out in Austria – not that I should have to explain myself to anyone other than one person at this football club.’

A veiled dig, not so veiled at Barry’s claims?

‘Naturally it’s an interesting time for us. We’ve got competitive football very early on in the season – namely the Intertoto Cup.

‘My normal build-up would be a wee bit more leisurely, getting players into it and building into it. But here we have to try and get into competitive mode very early on.

‘We’re not back much earlier than a lot of other clubs. If we’d not had the Intertoto Cup we’d have come back early next week.

‘Now we’ve got to get ourselves together, get our preparation ready for the 19 and the 26th of the month. We’ll have a couple of days this week and then we’re heading off the Switzerland next Tuesday.

‘We’ve managed to fit in another game next Thursday night – against Moustapha’s old team FC Wil. Then we’ve got Zurich on the Saturday night. It’s all about gearing up to the Intertoto matches.’