The Villa Times 01/08/05
Mystery and intrigue remain with the possible move for Milan Baros. Villa and West Ham have been linked but last week reports suggested Schalke were in the driving seat having agreed personal terms with Baros. However Schalke have officially pulled out of the reckoning. They wanted a loan because they couldn't meet Liverpool's £7million asking price but Liverpool are standing firm on their valuation. Sky sports say he is in talks with a mystery club and I'd back Villa to be that club.
DOL admits that Angel is a key player for us this year: 'Angel has had a far, far better pre-season than last year. He came back earlier than he needed to after playing World Cup qualifiers in June and has trained harder. If we have an Angel scoring goals, then Aston Villa will be in great shape. I believe that he is a big, big player for us and he is there to score goals. Angel is the sort of player who will decide games. He will score the crucial goals which earn you victories or maybe grab a point. We need him to be scoring - and he didn't do that last season.'
Kevin Phillips carried on his scoring ways in the 2-1 defeat to Wolves with a diving header.
Hendrie carried on his tradition of being a pratt by being sent off during the 2-2 draw v Tamworth yesterday. The baby got into a fight. Time to get shot, he'll never learn his lesson, provoked or not, he is paid to play, not fight. He will now miss the start of the season unless Villa appeal. Roy Aitken claimed the midfielder was 'hard done by'.
Agbonlahor and Steven Davis scored for Villa.
Mellberg is sure that Laursen will be fit for the start of the season after Laursen played the second half v Wolves on Saturday.
DOL says McCann will soon be back to his best but says he needs to get some sharpness before the season starts.
McCann wants to pay back the faith shown in him by DOL: 'The gaffer pulled me to one side at the end of last season and said he wanted to get it sorted out and I'm really happy we've got it done before the start of the season. The gaffer's done really well for me since I've been here and everything has gone right for me under him, so I had no doubts about signing. Now, after the injury problems last season, I just want to get back out there playing and pre-season has gone really well fitness wise.'
Merson has put a £1million-plus price tag on teenage striker Matty Fryatt after he was targeted by Aston Villa, Sunderland and West Ham. Fryatt's value rocketed when he scored a hat-trick for England at the European Under-19s Championship last week.
Thought for the day: I was getting into my car and a bloke asked if I could give him a lift. 'Sure' I said 'the world is your oyster, go for it'.