Date: 14th January 2008 at 5:43pm
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Unoial Villa News…

Villa have thanked the fans for their fantastic support this season with news that attendances are the highest since 1949/50. The official site says the average for home league games is 39,943. They have also repeated the fact that the Villa’s fans are the fourth highest in all the Premier League grounds. We did publish the whole list, not sure if anyone else still has the list, I can’t for the life of me find it!

Craig Gardner says he is happy to play wherever he is asked after filling in at right-back v Reading. He told ‘Olof was a bit sick and I was called in. As a player, I am always delighted to play – whether it be right-back or in midfield. Hopefully the manager thinks I did a good job and it’s a good enough performance to keep my place in the team. I got the call about an hour before the game. The gaffer said Olof was struggling with illness and asked me to go out and do the warm-up. When I got back in, he told me I was playing. I wasn’t nervous. I just like to get out and play. I don’t like hanging about in the tunnel before the games.’

Scott Carson has joined the Premier League Reading Star for the year. He has nominated two of his favourite books and came up with Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Gazza, My Story. If we are talking Roald Dahl, I’ll go for Danny Champion of the World, my all time favourite childhood book. What? Oh sorry, apparently no one asked me…. I’ll get me coat.

Ashley Young has been waxing lyrical about boss Martin O’Neill. He told the official site: ‘His man-management skills are second to none and nobody has got a bad word to say about him. In training he always gives you the confidence to go and play and that’s how we feel. The front three or four just look like we can score every time we go forward. He’s instilled into us that when we attack we look like scoring. The manager has been brilliant. He knows when we need to rest and when we need days off so we’ll get enough rest and recovery time to enable us to play games.’ Which is nice..

Meanwhile MON has complimented Martin Laursen saying, ‘Laursen has been sensational. We’re hoping to keep him and we want to keep him badly. He keeps playing brilliantly. When I first saw him at pre-season in Germany 17 months ago he was walking with a limp, never mind running with a limp. What he’s done is unbelievable. It’s all down to him and his fantastic desire.’ Adding Villa want to get him signed up on a new contract.

Curtis Davies says he is hoping to stay in the team now he has got his chance adding, ‘With someone like Zat pushing to get back, you are never in a comfort zone so I know I have to do well in every game to keep my place. Hopefully I can establish myself for the rest of the season.’

Marlon Harewood has been linked with Stoke City but papers over the weekend have a source close to the player saying he is determind to stay at Villa and prove his worth.

Nigel Hokey-Cokey has told the official site that every now and then he likes to make a run forward even though he is now playing a holding role. ‘It’s about picking my moments. If I’ve won the ball and there’s a space to drive into, that’s what I’ve been encouraged to do. If the opportunity is there – and I have cover – I’ve been given freedom to make that run. But the majority of the time, it’s about me being defensively minded and making sure I’m helping in that area. I have no problem with that. We are winning games and pushing for Europe, so I can’t ask for any more.’ Adding that he can see the fans are excited at what is happening at Villa as well. ‘The balance is right, we are exciting – and whenever people come to watch us, they know goals are guaranteed. We don’t play for draws and we don’t play boring football. If we keep doing that, I’m sure the fans will keep turning up.’ Oh right!

Vital Villa fantasy standings: Click Here

Stanley Victor Collymore has said that Villa should snap up Jermain Defoe whilst he is available. Our latest poll asks if Stan is right, should we sign Defoe? Full article: Click Here

Reports are suggesting that Blues, amongst others want Gary Cahill and that Martin Laursen might well be signing a new contract with Villa this week. Full article: Click Here

Helsingborgs have quashed rumours that Henrik Larsson could be allowed to do a similar loan move that saw him go to Manchester United last season. The rumour mill have linked the former Swedish international striker to Celtic and Aston Villa. Helsingborgs chairman Sten-Inge Fredin told Setanta there was ‘Not a chance.’ The brief poll about a potential Henrik Larsson loan before I spotted their chairman saying no chance had a split between ‘no, we should be buying a top quality striker’ (51%) and yes 47% + 2% unsure.

Villa v Reading match report: Click Here
Villa v Reading match stats (attendance was over 38 000, not the listed 32k from the official site and bbc etc); Click Here
Post match reactions: Click Here

Martin O’Neill slates the transfer window: Click Here

Thought for the day: I couldn’t quite remember how to throw a boomerang, but eventually it came back to me.