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Aston Villa round-up: Laursen out for the season, O'Neill won't be bullied on price and site changes

We're playing catch up today but there really wasn't much going on in terms of Aston Villa yesterday that made for really interesting banter, but some bits did come out and while some of it is certain, other bits are a little speculative.

First bit of news is that Martin O'Neill doesn't think Martin Laursen will play again this season and while it's nice to hear the manager tell us what is happening with our captain, I don't think it's the first time this has come up, but it is getting reported now.

When we were playing Manchester United we put in a little bit about this in the team news section; something along the lines of growing fears and he'll not play again this season. I'm not sure where we got that from now and without my desktop machine, I can't check, but I'm sure it wasn't a secret.

Martin is struggling. There's not much more to say. He'll be struggling to play again before the end of the season.
Martin O'Neill, April 15th 2009

Whatever your views, it's not nice to hear he'll not be back and it is quite worrying. We can only hope that he gets properly looked after and that he's able to play next season. Defenders as good as Laursen don't come cheap and to replace him might be something Martin O'Neill doesn't want to be doing.

Moving on and I read something in the Daily Star yesterday about Martin O'Neill only willing to pay half of what Standard Liege want for midfielder Steven Defour but it sort of doesn't make sense.

Now, if you didn't know, Defour has actually come out and spoken about his potential move to Aston Villa, which is always a good sign and initial reports from fans that have seen him play are all positive, but like I've said, this seems strange.

It seems strange because there is no mention of the actual player from O'Neill and the quote looks a familiar one and while I can't pinpoint it, I reckon this is an old quote. We've also seen that Martin O'Neill will pay the money if he wants the player, as demonstrated by his eventual capture of James Milner.

I don’t mind paying over the odds for some people if you think that player will develop and become an asset for the team and be money well spent. I did that with Ashley Young, but if I was told that a player I value at £7m was for sale at £15m, then I would not be able to do that.
Martin O'Neill, Daily Star, April 15th 2009

I'm not too sure how accurate that article from the Daily Star is and as it quickly follows on the back of the News of the World article about Martin O'Neill having to trim the squad and average age if we don't qualify for the Champions League, it might worry a few, but I fancy those worries will be quickly replaced by renewed optimism quite soon after the season ends and O'Neill starts to spend money.

There will be more later, a match preview of West Ham too and if you haven't read what Doc had to say earlier, click here, but before you go, a request.

As you know, this site is sort of new and was put up quite quickly but we are changing the look and feel of it next month. One of the things we will not be adding is a forum. We might be setting up a forum somewhere else, but on this actual site, it's going to remain very much a blog, but are there any features you would like to see that you've seen elsewhere on the web or do you have any ideas of what we can do to make visiting the site a better experience for you.

Basically, if you have any suggestions on anything; design, features, content or absolutely anything, we'd like to know and your input will possibly go a long way to making this a better site, so speak now or forever keep schtum. Thanks.