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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.

Date:Friday November 23 2007
Time: 2:59PM


Carson will be fine. McClown should never have played him in that game. This is the start of Phase Two - now we all know MON is staying for the long term - and so do the players. They can stop thinking about internationals because most are missing out in the Summer (except the U21s) and concentrate on working for the club that pays their wages.Lets put another nail in the Southgate coffin!
23/11/2007 17:00:00
At Boro i have learnt that the likely is unlikely and the unlikely is likely. After 18 months without a win on the road about just 400 Villa fans were there to witness a 5 2 win on a Tuesday night in January. Then Boateng got us down to 10 men and we were pounded for the last hour only for Peter Crouch (not at his best then) to score in the very last minute of play with what seemed our only attack of the second half to win it 2 -1. Then a 4 0 away win with season tickets flung into Mr McClarens dugout by disgruntled Boro fans. Forgot what happened last season cos I missed it, but this time we are in the ascendancy, and expected to win. But this is still Villa. Apart from the big 4 and the bottom 2 or 3 there is not much between many of the teams and although we are rightly in 8th place we are not sufficiently better than Boro to beat them if we don't match them in effort. They will be motivated tomorrow from their position and we may be over-confident. In my mind confidence is only a plus if it comes on top of 110% motivation and I fear we will not be at it for 90 minutes tomorrrow. I fear I will be viewing a disappointing performance - please prove me totally and utterly wrong. Barry went off for 2 or 3 games after his more successful England expploits and needs to be straight back on his game but I fear the worst. Others may suffer too from the 74% effort disease, and obviously Carson is a questionmark as to his reaction. Adraw or a defeat beckons ................... or maybe Petrov will get a hattrick!
23/11/2007 18:50:00
We should be good for at least a point, but didn't the majority believe that that would also be the case with England the other evening?
23/11/2007 19:35:00
Just watched Premier League Review and i think Southgate believes he can get a result. Lets hope not! Need Carson to get a clean sheet to get his confidence back on track.
24/11/2007 09:39:00
Villa to win, Southgate sacked and McClaren back at Boro! You gotta feel sorry for them. lol
24/11/2007 13:16:00
Even when we got a 3-0 hammering there the other season, we played really well, as well as we did the year we returned and won 4-0. Strange game footie.
27/11/2007 15:02:00
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