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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

McCann & Gardner Vying For Place

Martin O'Neill is hoping Gavin McCann will be fit for Saturday's game against Manchester United but says he'll have no qualms using Craig Gardner.

'I would have a better idea on Thursday. It's one of those. He's had it before and been OK. At other times he's had it and not been OK. So we will see how it is later in the week. The one thing you know with Gavin is that if he complains about an injury, you know he's struggling. I want him to be mentally and physically right for the game.'

Adding: 'The fact we play a lot of games in a short space of tie now is not a major issue. What matters is that he feels he's right for the game. Craig Gardner did well when he came into Saturday's game, so I would have no qualms about turning to him.'

Meanwhile Craig Gardner is looking to add to his sub appearance when he replaced McCann on Saturday (v dirty Bolton).

He told the official site: 'We had enough chances to win the game three times over. I probably had the best chance. I just took a touch and the keeper was on me. It was a good save, but I was gutted. I thought it was in when I hit it and I know I should have scored. It would have been amazing to score in front of the Holte End - actually it would be amazing to score for Villa anywhere, a goal's a goal.'

'I've been waiting all season for my chance. Hopefully the gaffer likes what he saw on Saturday and I can push on. I need to get more football under my belt. It's the same for any player out of the side, you're just waiting for your chance. I got my first chance for a long time against Bolton and now I'm looking to build on that.'

Might be interesting to see him up against Paul Scholes, neither pull out of tackles and are both full bloodied players.... gulp.




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday December 19 2006

Time: 12:00PM

Your Comments

I hope Craig Garner makes me eat my words as I have been less than complimentary in the past. Certainly his best ever performance for Villa against Bolton.
DeanoVilla
that one tackle he was lucky not to get cautioned, but after the stick they dished out, it was nice to see!!
The Fear
He loves to tackle and gets forward often, just needs to beef up a bit...promising player but will be run ragged by scholes and carrick....How come we have to play united straight after they lose again!!!!!!! Every time we play them fegie has them fired up due to a bad performance a week before...Villa park is united favourite away ground. But if the hammers can do it then so can we!
son_of_cher
I was very impressed with him on Saturday. I was starting to think he was a very average player. I'm yet to be convinced about him, but he did extremely well when he came on. He does tend to dive into tackles a bit tho
Geordie_Villa
If youve seen him in the reserves you will know he is a great young player. Far outshone any reserve player (even Agbonlahor on many occassions) and is a far better footballer than Osbourne IMO. I cant wait for him to get a run in the side because he has almost everything in his game. He hasnt a real chance in the prem yet except for being thrown in to a god awful side once in a while last season and there is no way Scholes and Carrick will run him ragged. A great player in the making.
MACCA UTV
Give the lad his go, needs must when push comes to shove. Nothing to lose but the game.......
col8
Would be good to have McCann playing but Gardner's performance on Saturday means although we don't have the best out there, he will do a good job.
Tierney
We'd miss Gavin McCann against Man Utd, of that there can be little doubt, but after young Gardners impressive showing against Bolton, I wouldn't be overly concerned. Without a doubt his best performance in a first team shirt, even allowing for the fact that he was only on the pitch for the second half, and in that time managed to miss a sitter that would have changed the course of the game.
glensider
Big chance nerves against Bolton, needed to settle down a bit, would he suffer from big game nerves against Manure or rise to the challenge, we will see, definately a good prospect for the future of the mighty Villa, but must admit to hoping McCann is fit, UTV
steff_the_villan
 

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