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Aston Villa at Sunderland, team news, links, a tapped up player and O'Neill talks

Sunderland is not going to be easy. I really do think we can get something out of it, but it isn't going to be easy. One thing is going to be interesting; watching Ashley Young, if he plays.

You see, there is a suggestion that something untoward might have happened and Ashley Young might have been tapped up. Now, the suggestion isn't coming from anyone but a reporter, but the manager hasn't ruled it out.

But the manager trusts Ashley Young and we have to also. His word is his bond and while I was reminded of comments he made last month, that not sort of, actually do contradict what he said this week, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Ashley Young, September 24th 2010
I've always said that I'm willing to sign a new deal. If it comes along then I'll be delighted to sign.

Martin O'Neill talking

Ashley isn't the only one talking contracts at the moment; Martin O'Neill is too and he is keen to get back into football. He isn't talking much about Aston Villa but he has confirmed there was a difference of opinion in terms of the direction the club was heading between the owner and himself.

Martin O'Neill, October 22nd 2010
I think we decided we weren’t going in the same direction, I’m not sure what direction that was. Probably the less said, the better.

O'Neill, unlike the manager before him, will get another job in football, but it won't be a big club or one of the top four and if it is, they won't be a top four club for much longer, unless it is Manchester United, Chelsea or Manchester City.

I say that because I think the only club that would hire him at the moment is Liverpool and if they do, he'll not get them back into the top four. His style off football isn't for this decade and I don't think he is able to change. Top six for Liverpool if they appoint Martin O'Neill.

Match day: Sunderland

But, today is about football and we are at Sunderland this afternoon and we will be updating Twitter and this site all day.

You can, if you are unable to travel to Sunderland or get in front of a TV, watch the game live here.

Early team news

Emile Heskey, Marc Albrighton and Richard Dunne are all back in contention for a place and I read somewhere that there is a chance we will go four-four-two today and play Heskey and Carew. I really can't see this happening and if it does, I'd be very surprised.

Four-four-two isn't something you will see Gerard Houllier playing. You'll see Ashley Young or Stephen Ireland playing in the hole behind Carew or Heskey but not two big men like this. If it happens, like I said, I'd be very very surprised.

But, as soon as the team is announced we will add it here and the man of the match vote will be going up just after the match, so come join us, or don't, but it will be a good night tonight, I have a feeling.

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