Ireland Returning to Villa to Recover, Mac Hints at Second Chance

April 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Quoted 

Stephen Ireland will return to Aston Villa having appeared in a Newcastle shirt twice since his loan switch in January. The controversial Irishman has been ruled out for the rest of the season and Villa assistant Gary McAllister has confirmed he will return to begin his rehabilitation at the club. The man in charge in Houllier’s absence hinted that the 24-year-old may be given a second chance at the club, having failed to make an impact since joining as part of a move that saw James Milner join Manchester City. Ireland has successfully pissed off the fans at every team he has played for and was quick to dismiss the city of Birmingham as ‘crap’ when it was suggested that he should move to be closer to Villa Park. McAllister joked that he should “change the route into Bodymoor, with blacked-out windows!” Before stating: “No. I am sure he was misquoted.” Read McAllister comments on Ireland

Aston Villa vs West Brom Preview: Mac to Experiment?

April 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Match Previews 

It has been suggested that with Villa all but safe, caretaker manager Gary McAllister could experiment with a little squad rotation, however the words ‘all but’ are significant and I don’t see too many changes being made. Manager Gerard Houllier was released from hospital late last night but as confirmed last week, will take a back seat for the rest of the season as he recovers from his heart problems. Villa have recalled Barry Bannan from his somewhat disappointing, in terms of opportunities, loan spell with Leeds and slots straight back in to the squad making the short trip to the Hawthorns. McAllister has hinted that Michael Bradley could yet earn a permanent deal which would suggest he could be involved between now and the end of the season but a long awaited return to form of Stiliyan Petrov and consistent displays from Nigel Reo-Coker are keeping out fellow signing Jean Makoun. The likes of Ciaran Clark and Marc Albrighton who impressed in the first half of the season will be hoping for a recall along with Gabby Agbonlahor who has been kept out by Emile Heskey in the last two games. Match Preview and Predictions

VOTE NOW: Who’s been Villa’s Biggest Flop this Season?

April 28, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Hot topic debates, POLL 

New poll today. Bit of a change of pace somewhat as I want to know who the Villa fans have been tearing there hair out of this season. Have you gone bald over Stephen Ireland, grown weary of Warnock or are you done with Dunne? Awful, awful play on words I’m sorry! Anyway, I’ve singled out a bunch who for some reason or another haven’t cut it this season, begging the question – Who has been Villa’s Biggest Flop of the Season?

If you haven’t voted on the Young Player of the Season poll posted on Tuesday, please do so via the link as for some reason this has got considerably less votes than an of the others and I’ll say it again, I want the results to be as conclusive as possible for the end of season Villa Blog awards.

[polldaddy poll=”4984690″]

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Villa Keen on Young Midfield Trio: Sahin, Snodgrass & Wanyama

April 28, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

Finally a few more transfer rumours have been leaked today ahead of what is set to be an exciting summer for Aston Villa and despite manager Gerard Houllier’s struggle with his health, the club are keen to ensure they secure their targets for the transfer window with many set to be shown the door. The Express suggest that Villa are keen on Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin, who has played a pivotal role in the club’s league success this season, in which they are dominating the likes of Bayern Munich. The 22-year-old Turkey international is in high demand due to a clause in his contract and will be attracting interest from all over Europe. Another young midfielder who is catching the eye of plenty of suitors at home and abroad is 19-year-old Victor Wanyama, a Kenyan starlet plying his trade with Belgian side GBA. Finally, the club are reportedly showing strong interest in Leeds winger/forward Robert Snodgrass who played under Villa assistant Gary McAllister during his time at Elland Road. The 23-year-old has been one of the Championship’s top performers and has linked up with the likes of Eric Lichaj and fellow Scot Barry Bannan this term. A glimpse at the potential targets

Houllier Out of Hospital in Next 24 Hours, Cardiologist Advises He Quit

April 28, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Quoted, Villa Manager 

Villa manager Gerard Houllier will be released from hospital within the next 24 hours after scans taken earlier today revealed he was fit to continue his recovery from home. It was confirmed earlier in the week by Villa’s club doctor Mark Waller that the Frenchman’s chest pains were a result of a dissection of the descending aorta. Despite the fantastic news for the 63-year-old, and the club, Chelsea’s cardiologist Duncan Dymond told TalkSport: “My own assessment, without knowing Gerard Houllier or having seen him, quite frankly he’s had one brush with the grim reaper already and now’s he had one serious warning, and to put himself through this again with the stresses and strains of being a football manager, I think he should call it a day.” Reports have been rife over the past couple of days that Houllier will indeed step down from a managerial role and it was suggested this morning that the club were lining up another former Liverpool boss, Rafa Benitez, as his replacement. The Spaniard resides in England once again after a very brief failure at emulating the work of Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan and is thought to be keen to return to a job in the Premier League. Despite all this Villa assistant Gary McAllister couldn’t comment on when his counterpart could return to management, but did announce his delight at the former Lyon bosses return to health. Read Gary McAllister’s quotes here

Bannan Recalled to Villa and Could Face West Brom

April 28, 2011 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa 

Villa’s young Scottish midfielder Barry Bannan has returned to the club from a loan spell with Leeds after only featuring 7 times for the Championship who have fallen out of the play off places. It is likely that the club, along with many of the fans, grew tired of the limited opportunities that Bannan was getting at Elland Road for a player who has plenty of Premier League experience under his belt in the first half of the season. His form for Villa even saw him called up to the senior Scotland squad for whom he has shone since making his debut at the end of last year. The 21-year-old did state on his Twitter page @BBannan25 that he was heading “Bck to birmingham hometime !!!” after not featuring in Leeds 1-0 defeat to Palace on Monday, April 25. The youngster is now in the frame for a place in the squad to face West Brom this weekend and will be pleased to be back at the club who have showed that they rate him highly by recalling him from a loan spell that was less profitable than all parties would have hoped.

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Forrester Set for Barnsley Switch

April 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Transfer News 

Aston Villa reserve team regular Harry Forrester is poised to leave the club in the summer with Championship side Barnsley ready to stave off any interest in the youngster with an early swoop. Tykes boss Mark Robins has invited the versatile attacker, who can play in a central position as well as his preferred wide role, to join the South Yorkshire side for training ahead of his expected switch at the end of the season. The 20-year-old has been capped at youth level for England and has impressed for MacDonald’s second string this term but will be out of contract come the end of the season. As well as playing regularly for the reserves and the youth team before that, Forrester enjoyed a short 7 game spell with SPL club Kilmarnock earlier in the season having began his career in the youth ranks at Watford.

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Heskey Set to Become Fox in the Box at Championship Level?

April 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

A regurgitated link has arisen again this morning after it was revealed that Championship side Leicester, managed by Sven Goran Eriksson, could be given as much as £10m to spend in the summer, with the former England boss highlighting Emile Heskey as a prime target. The Swede was a big fan of the big man during his time with the national side, sticking by him when many said he shouldn’t, and the former Lazio boss is set to make an ambitious bid for the 32-year-old, according to the Mirror. Heskey impressed under Houllier when fit at the beginning of this term but fell out of favour when the club signed Darren Bent while he was serving a suspension. In the last two matches he has made a return but many feel that he will be allowed to leave in the summer, considering his ageing years, to cut the wage bill. The much maligned striker enjoyed a successful start to his career with the Foxes under former boss Martin O’Neill and a move may be tempting, though whether he is willing to drop down a level to get regular football is unknown. Heskey’s Season and Leicester Stats

Quoted: McAllister Claims Bradley Could Still Seal Move

April 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Quoted 

Despite having started only one game, the infamous surrender to Manchester City in the FA Cup in which he was one of 8 outfield changes, Michael Bradley could yet seal a permanent move to the club ahead of next season according to caretaker manager Gary McAllister. In total, the American international, highly rated in his homeland, has played just 88 minutes of first team football, including a substitute appearance in the league draw at Blackpool. Other than that, the 23-year-old, on loan from Gladbach, has made just one appearances for the reserves and has been criticised in his short stints for looking off the pace of the English game. Despite this, McAllister feels he could still have a part to play in the run in and has left the door open for the midfielder to earn a move after a price was already agreed as a part of the loan deal. Read McAllister’s comments on Bradley

Quoted: Walker Names Downing as His Player of the Year

April 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Quoted 

Villa’s loan signing Kyle Walker claims that Stewart Downing has been Villa’s stand out player since he joined the club in January and indeed over the entire campaign, further adding to what seems to be becoming a foregone conclusion that the winger will win the clubs Player of the Season.

“Since I came here I’ve seen a massive difference with Stewart Downing,” he said.

“It’s great for me with him being on my side of the pitch and sometimes I can just give him the ball and I don’t even have to think. I just pass him the ball and you know he’s going to carry it. Not many players can take it off him.

“He sets the bar for everyone. In the first 10 minutes if he’s having a good game people want to rise to that challenge and have a good game as well with him.”

“He does work on everything. He works on his crossing and his shooting. For me he’s someone to look up to even though he’s not much older than me – he’s still a good role model.”

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