Afternoon all and welcome to a 3pm kick off on a Saturday. Isn't this what it is all about? I've got 5live on, just had a bacon sandwich and I'm thinking about sitting in front of the TV with a beer very soon after posting this.
Today we welcome West Ham and for the record, we've not beaten any team at Villa Park when the opposition has been in the top half of the table, but seeing as it's match day, I've got a renewed optimism so my bet does include a home win today, but before we get to that, let's have a look at some of the news.
First to Martin Laursen and this doesn't sound good. According to reports, the player is going to sit down with the manager on Monday to talk about his future. I don't want to write this, but I suspect we're going to be finding out soon that Laursen is retiring from playing football.
This is just me speculating, but most of us are probably thinking this and if it does turn out like this, I suppose we should just be grateful for the 90 odd games he did play for us and the eleven goals he scored. It might not turn out like this, but he is getting on and he'll probably prefer to walk without a limp for the rest of his life and the knees only have so many operations in them.
Moving on, Nick Shorey has been given the backing of the manager, which is nice when you factor in the amount of money we paid for him and with Bouma not likely to play again this season, the player is going to want to feel as if he has the backing from the manager. Let's hope to see another good performance from him today.
There are no rumours today that we haven't already posted about so it really is just about the football today and we need a win, so, we're going to turn our attention to that now.
There is a chance that Heskey is going to be fit, but Gabby is, according to reports, not going to make it. There was also talk that Nathan Delfouneso might start, but if you were a betting man, you'd fancy O'Neill will stick with Heskey if he is available.
Friedel is set to start and in front of him there is a chance that Cueller will start alongside big Curtis. Personally, I'd like these two get a proper run together as I think they could, if given time, develop a very good understanding and if it is those two, we should see Luke Young and Shorey play either side.
In midfield, I fancy this will be unchanged with Young, Barry, Petrov and Milner all starting, which means the only real area where we are unsure now is up front, but you've got to fancy it will be Carew and then one other. No doubt we'll know more at about 2pm and we'll update this post then.
sticking with my one bet policy, I've gone for Villa, Pompey and Middlesbrough. A £10 stake could return £75 for me. All kick off at the same time, so it will make it more interesting today too.
Man of the Match
Much like last week, as soon as the match ends, we'll put up the vote and we'll let it run until about an hour after I get up tomorrow morning.
That is about it for now, just over two hours to kick off and as we have more, we'll update this page. Come on Villa!
Official Team News
Friedel; L Young, Shorey, Cuellar, Davies; Milner, A Young, Barry, Petrov; Agbonlahor, Heskey.
Subs: Guzan, Sidwell, Knight, Salifou, Gardner, Reo-Coker, Delfouneso.
Shock of the day I guess is Gabby is in and John Carew is nowhere. Work that one one people. This was taken from the club site.
Not that I want to correct the club with how they run their website, but rather than cop and paste, could I suggest they actually put in the players by hand. I think for Gabby above you should read Carew.