Richard Dunne is a source for great concern for Aston Villa as they prepare to face Blackburn Rovers in the Carling Cup. The third-round encounter at Villa Park on Wednesday will be Gerard Houllier's first game in charge after he officially took over the reins on Monday.

However, the former Liverpool boss could be without influential defender Richard Dunne, who is struggling with a leg injury. Dunne was replaced by Carlos Cuellar at half-time of Saturday's 1-1 draw with Bolton Wanderers and may miss out against Blackburn.


Aston Villa are in talks with Tottenham over the sale of striker Robbie Keane. O'Neill is apparently being urged to step up his pursuit of the Republic of Ireland star by defender Richard Dunne, a team-mate of Keane's at international level.

However, Aston Villa could face competition for the Irishman as Celtic are also believed to be pursuing Keane. The Bhoys, for whom he scored 16 goals last season while on loan from Spurs, are reportedly keen to sign him on another loan deal at Parkhead.


ASTON VILLA will have three players in England's final World Cup squad.

As expected, Emile Heskey and James Milner made it into the final 23 for the flight to South Africa.

But more surprising was Fabio Capello's decision to pick Stephen Warnock as one of his defenders ahead of Everton's Leighton Baines.

The only other Midlands representation comes in the form of Joe Hart, who rocketed into the the England squad on the back of an excellent season at Birmingham City before returning to Manchester City.

O'Neill Plans Lerner talks

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has called upon the club to make further investment in the playing side and will meet with owner Randy Lerner next week where both parties will discuss the season gone by and potential changes for next term.

O'Neill has taken Villa to this season's League Cup final and FA Cup semi-final and although he has failed to produce any silverware this campaign, he believes he deserves more time to achieve greater success at the Birmingham-based side.

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