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Quoted: Dunne on Top Half Aspirations

Shamed Villa defender Richard Dunne is set to return to the fold in tomorrow’s clash with Everton after recovering from a month-long lay-off with a shoulder injury. In that time the centre-back, alongside defensive partner James Collins hit the headlines after it was revealed the duo had instigated an argument on a ‘team-bonding’ spa trip. The pair were subsequently fined by the club, though manager Gerard Houllier claims that the problem has been dealt with and forgotten. Dunne made it through international duty in the Republic of Ireland’s international match with Macedonia and is line to start on Saturday. The 31-year-old is wary of the club’s tantalising position above the drop but remains optimistic, preferring to focus on how high the team can finish rather than the prospect of relegation. To read the Irishman’s comments

“It’s been a tough season for us all and we know there are tough games still to be played but everyone is up for the challenge.

“We have eight games to turn this around and we’re all in it together, to make sure that the club secures a safe position and climbs the table to as high a place as possible.

“Everton will not be an easy place to go to try to begin this run but the incentive is there, with the table still being so tight, to grab a top-half finish. That’s far from beyond us.”

“Obviously, our confidence was knocked a bit by the result against Wolves. In that sense, the international break probably did us some good.

“I came through the game against Macedonia, there were no problems and now we’re back at it, all fresh and raring to go.

“To have come through 90 minutes for Ireland was really good and I’m looking forward to playing my part in these final eight games.

“The fans’ support will push us on and we’re determined to finish the season as strongly as we can.”

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