The Villa Times - 08/01/2007
Unoial Villa News...
Aston Villa have made their first signing, albeit on loan. Villa have sealed the loan until the end of the season for Manchester United right-back Phil Bardsley. The 21-year-old Salford lad will be able to make his debut against Watford on January 20 at Villa Park.
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Tickets for the Premiership trip to Reading (Feb 10) are now on priority sale. Tickets for Newcastle away (Jan 31) are now on general sale.
According to the Daily Mail, Villa are close to clinching the loan signing of Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips.
The Sunday Mirror have repeated the rumour that Villa will bid for Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy who looked frustrated on the sidelines as Liverpool were beaten by Arsenal this weekend. Bellamy already knows O'Neill following a loan spell when the Villa manager was boss at Celtic. The report says Liverpool will listen to the offer of around £9million as it would show a £3million profit. Whispers are that Rafa will sell no one unless he can get a replacement in though.
The Mirror also claims that Villa are at the front of the race for Watford's attacking midfielder Ashley Young although they also say a £6.9million bid has been turned down. Apparently there are five or six clubs chasing his signature including Arsenal, Spurs, Sheffield United Everton and Liverpool. Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd said: 'Everybody is interested and that is OK.Until Ashley tells me he wants to leave, he will remain a Watford player.'
Another report says Martin O'Neill watched West Brom in the FA Cup this weekend fuelling speculation we'll bid for Curtis Davies and Zoltan Gera.
Martin O'Neill says Lee Hendrie is welcome at Villa but has no guarantees of a first team place: 'He's got six months left of his contract, he's got his testimonial at Villa and ideally it would be great for him to be at Villa when his testimonial comes around. The opportunity for every single of our players is there. I can guarantee no-one a starting place in the team. The truth is if Lee is willing to come back and take his chance, that would be fine by me.'
On the player search Martin O'Neill said: 'We just want to start building the squad up a bit to give ourselves a chance because we have to do something. The squad is threadbare at the moment.' Adding 'It's quite frenetic and lots of clubs are chasing the same players to try to improve their squads so it won't be easy. In the meantime we've got games in January to try to win. It's hard - we aren't the only club....But we are all after quality players. We've currently got a few players out and we're going to try to do something about it in the next three weeks but eventually, no one will ever remember the injuries.'
Post match audio for FA Cup exit: Click Here
Post match reaction for FA Cup exit: Click Here
Man Utd v Aston Villa match report: Heartbreak In Extra Time
Match stats: Click Here
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'