Writer: Mike Field
Date:Sunday January 13 2008
Martin O'Neill has revealed that he is taking nothing for granted, but that Laursen has seemed receptive in their last few chats to committinghimself to Villa on the deal that has been offered.
Speaking to the press, he said:
'We want to do it and Martin has been pretty receptive. I cannot say for certain about anything until people actually sign a deal.
'But the fact is there would be a lot of fans at Villa, as well as myself, who would be disappointed if we didn't do it.
'What is the chance of it happening? I couldn't say. We want to do it and we've been in contact.'
O'Neill has however dismissed those reports that put the lengthy delays down to the club wanting Laursen to prove his fitness.
'This has got nothing to do with Martin Laursen proving his fitness. He has done that now. He has played consecutive games when I would have had serious doubts about it this time last year.
'He has proved himself worthy and I want to do it. I've got a lot of regard for a lot of our players in the dressing room and Laursen is up there with any of them.'
Martin also commented on Laursen's bravery and stubborness to not let his knee injury get the better of him, especially in light of how he has come bouncing back both as a rock in our defence, but also at the other end of the pitch showing our strikers what to do.
'Martin is a competitor. He doesn't think there are lost causes. He has been terrific. You would have got long odds on this 18 months ago and it is great credit to him and I genuinely mean that.
'He was desperately trying to get fit. He had been out a long time. Lesser people than him might have thought 'this might not be for me'.
'As for his goals, Martin is on a good run. He could go the next 25 games and not score a goal but he gets chances every game.
'This is not a case of where he is going up the pitch for show. He is not going 60-70 yards, expending energy, without wanting to do something. He is capable and wants to get in there.'
In many games this season it's been a good job aswell, he's been winning us points at the wrong end of the pitch and saving us points at the right end of the pitch.
You certainly cannot ask for more from a centre half.
Date:Sunday January 13 2008
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