Date: 11th January 2008 at 3:08pm
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Some light transfer window relief for Villa fans as the Claret & Blues face a Reading side who aren’t afraid to score plenty of goals, however struggle to keep them out at the other end.

Full, transfer-free preview from Vital Villa!

Vital Quotes:

Martin O’Neill has been rambling about the good old days of management today following the news that Sam Allardyce (who’s “bounce back” news story made me laugh loudly) has been sacked from his post at Newcastle courtesy of their impatient fans chewing the ear of the clubs owner from the stands.

In a very Ron Manager style, O’Neill told avfc.co.uk: with football, it’s absolutely out of hand. It’s so crazy now.

‘When I was a player, managers were getting sacked but they were getting two years in the job. Now it’s two minutes.’


Ah football, jumpers for goalposts? Not anymore, it’s crazy, isn’t it?

Regarding his opposite number, Steve ‘misery face’ Coppell , O’Neill was somewhat complimentary in his pre-match discussions:

‘I have the utmost regard for Steve Coppell and I think he has done a magnificent job at Reading. When people were touting potential England managers, I think it was absolutely right that his name was mentioned.

‘I think he has done wonderfully well. He’s a clever guy. He understates things but there’s plenty of meaning behind what he says.’

*****

Meanwhile on the flip side, Steve Coppell himself is fed up of the stupid Hunt talk, with Sunderland supposedly not taking the hint about a bid:

‘Sunderland can come calling every day, they will get no positive response from us in that direction.’

Coppell is looking to give 19-year-old defender Alex Pearce his league debut and may well do so against Aston Villa. On the player the Reading boss said:

‘We have options but sooner or later we have got to make that call on ‘Pearcey’, and this may well be his time.

‘It is based on what I have seen of him in training. I watch them all every day in training and I like to see a certain mentality. He will have a long career.’

AVFC Claret & Blues Team News:

Villa look likely to go as they were against Manchester United with John Carew hopefully now fit enough to be played ‘whilst fit’, rather than being played ‘whilst looking rather ill.’

Moustapha Salifou was sighted getting off the team bus last weekend, and could be close to a call-up as he’s clearly in and around the first team squad.

Despite O’Neill claiming his fringe players will get their chance, hell will no doubt be suffering a chilly day before Marlon Harewood makes his first league start for the club.

Player to watch: Gabriel Agbonlahor

Has only scored 1 goal in 9 matches now and looked far from decent against Manchester United. Needs to get back to goal scoring ways, and soon please Gabby!

Reading Royals Team News:

Reading will be giving a late fitness test to former Chelsea and Leeds United defender Michael Duberry who has been suffering from a knee problem. As mentioned previously Alex Pearce may replace him and in doing so, make his league debut.

Brynjar Gunnarsson returns from a suspension, whoever he is!

Player to watch: Dave Kitson

He thinks the FA Cup is s***, has recently been arrested for failing to provide a breath sample to police, and has scored more goals than any Villa player this season.

Gotta be the one to watch hasn’t he!

Match Facts & Stats

Martin O’Neill’s first home game in charge of Aston Villa came as they defeated Reading 2-1 last season. The squad for that day was: Sorensen ,Hughes ,Mellberg ,Ridgewell ,Samuel (Whittingham ,59 ) ,Moore ,Davis ,McCann ,Barry ,Agbonlahor , Angel. Subs not used: Taylor, Laursen, Hendrie, Djemba-Djemba.

Villa are looking for their 3rd consecutive league victory.

Reading have not won away all season!

Villa need 5 goals against Reading to break the 7,000 league goal mark by Saturday. Not necessarily a difficult task against a team that have lost matches 6-4 and 7-4 this season already.

Gareth Barry will make his 300th League start, all coming for Aston Villa FC.

Ref Watch:

OH NO!!!!!!!

The referee for Saturday’s fixture is Mr Uriah “look at me look at me” Rennie from Sheffield.

Mr Rennie is no stranger to football fans, due to his consistent ability to be rubbish.

This is shown by the fact that the game is only his 7th as a referee this season and just his second Premier League appearance of the year.

Match Prediction:

I can’t see us losing,
It won’t be a thriller,
There’ll be a goal from Laursen,
1-0 to the Villa.

Who says I can’t do intelligence!

Next Fixtures:

Villa go away to Liverpool next on the 21st January.