Unoial Villa News…
Looks like left-back Wilfred Bouma is doing well following his horrific ankle dislocation picked up in the game at Villa Park v Odense BK in July. Bouma told the Express & Star: ‘I am on track. I hope to be back in training this year, but I will not be ready for games.’ Meanwhile it seems that Nicky Shorey could be making a return to for the games v Fulham and MSK Zilina. Full article: Bouma Recovering Well & Shorey Back In Contention
An interview with Putney ahead of the game on Saturday: Interview With A Fulham Fan
According to the gossip in the papers, Villa are no longer looking at Reading’s striker Kevin Doyle who has recently signed a new deal for the Royals.
Various papers also printed yesterday that Martin O’Neill has told John Carew he is no longer an automatic first-choice pick as a striker.
The perception of Villa is changing, even with the bookies. Latest odds for a top four place:Perception Of Villa Changing Even With Bookies?
Villa ticket news for Fulham, Everton and Hamburg games: Villa Ticket News – Fulham – Everton – Hamburg
Video preview v Fulham: Click Here
Vital Villa asked for your man of the match for the 0-0 against Manchester United last weekend and rather belatedly, here are the results…. James Milner came in at number one with 36% of the votes. Next up was the Hokey-Cokey for his gritty performance at right-back with 27% of the votes. Stiliyan Petrov and Gareth Barry both shared the spoils with 11% each. Full results: Man Of The Match Poll Results v Man Utd
Barry was asked on Setanta Sports if Villa could break the top four. He said it was different to answer just yet but also added, ‘We are confident we can do it.’ Explaining ‘We have experience and youth, the belief is there and the manager has instilled that in us, but it is a tough target to achieve. Very few teams in recent years have been able to crack it.’ Full quotes: Gareth Barry Says Top Four IS Possible
Curtis Davies said being called into the England squad gave him a ‘big lift’ as it was unexpected. He explained ‘I am just glad to be in the mind of the manager. If I can keep my form up, hopefully I will be involved come the qualifiers in March.’ He also says that he was disappointed to be dropped but admits his form against Chelsea wasn’t his best. ‘But then we went into the Portsmouth game and kept a clean sheet against Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch, two England internationals. I thought ‘at least we are back with a clean sheet’ and then in the next game I was left out. I was more confused as to why but the manager will make his decisions and I have to stand by them. I managed to get back in for the Uefa Cup game away to Slavia Prague game and we put in a big performance to get a good win at a tough place. I’ve been in the team since. I can only say playing at the moment is good but I need to make sure I stay in the team and all the rest of the England stuff will come together with it.’
Stiliyan Petrov says Villa HAVE to take the points against teams like Fulham if they want to stay in fourth and start to compete for loftier placings in the league. Villa, if we get the 3 points at home this weekend, could go third about Manchester United who face Manchester City (a tough game indeed) on Sunday. Full quotes: Petrov Wants Consistency Now Fear Has Gone
Martin O’Neill says Villa fans are starting to see the best in James Milner following his £12million move from Newcastle. ‘It is really pleasing. Those attributes which I felt he had in his game are all coming to the fore now. He is doing very well.’
The Villa boss also told the Express and Star that the points v Arsenal and Manchester were important ‘psychologically’ adding, ‘That`s what you hope but things don`t always work out that way. If we can steer clear of injuries there is a great old enthusiasm about the team now. The results have certainly given the lads that boost that they can compete and actually win.’
The Manchester Evening News say that Spurs have joined Villa in the ‘race’ to sign Wigan striker Emile Heskey. No no, after you Spurs, I insist! :o)
Thought for the day: Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.