Date: 23rd November 2007 at 2:59pm
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He stays! Martin O’Neill rules himself out of running to become the next England manager, and he, like Vital Villa turns attention towards the task of Boro on Saturday.

Vital Quotes:

Firstly Villa boss Martin O’Neill on that pesky England rumour: ‘I know where the speculation has arisen from because I was involved in the interview process the last time. I was not a club manager at the time, and if that opportunity (England) had arisen and I had been given that chance, that would have been a different matter.

‘But I am here now and I’m committed to Aston Villa Football Club. This is what I want to do.’

Going back to all things Premier League, Craig Gardner looks forward to returning to the scene of his first senior goal for Villa, with the aim of getting back into the first team: ‘It’s a challenge to get back into the side. But anyone who knows me is aware that I’m a fighter. I have a never-say-die attitude and won’t stop until I’m back in the first team’ he told

Craig added: ‘Stiliyan has come in on the right side and performed really well. Why would the manager drop him? We’re winning and that’s the important thing.’


Former Villa defender, and Boro boss Gareth Southgate believes his side need to hit the AVFC Claret & Blues quickly in order to build an early atmosphere at the Riverside Library. Speaking to the official Middlesbrough website: ‘The fans gave us fantastic support at Bolton and really played their part in helping us grind out a hard-fought draw. We need to give them something to shout about against Villa. We know we have to start the game well.’

Middlesbrough Team News:

Gareth Southgate has recalled Adam Johnson from Watford where he has impressed for the Championship side.

`Boro hope to have Jonathan Woodgate, Fabio Rochemback and Robert Huth back for the fixture.

Player to watch: Stuart Downing

Stuart Downing has regularly Steve McClaren’s for the left side of the England setup.

Will he remain anywhere near the national team? Who knows! Downing is however still a threat.

Aston Villa Team News:

Gabriel Agbonlahor and Luke Moore are expected to be back from picking up knocks whilst on England U-21 duty.

The BBC are randomly reporting that Martin O’Neill looks set to ‘keep faith’ with goalkeeper Scott Carson following his error on his competitive England debut. Isn’t that lovely!

Player to watch: Scott Carson

Well Martin O’Neill is keeping the faith, lets all keep the faith.

Super Scotty Carson, keep the faith! He will bounce back!

All About Boro:

Middlesbrough were formed just 2 years after Aston Villa in 1876.

Their current home is the Riverside Stadium, which holds 35,100 people. The only problem is they never fill it.

The Riverside pitch dimensions stand at a wonderfully interesting 105 x 69 m.

In 1995 it hosted an England U21 fixture against Brazil, a game that featured one David Beckham and Ronaldinho!

Ref Watch:

The referee is the wonder that is Mr Keith Stroud.

The match will be only his third in the Premier League this season.

Match Prediction:

2-0 Villa with Gabby getting one and Petrov scoring the other!

Next Up:

Villa will cross the Pennines for an away game against Blackburn Rovers on the 28th of November.