O'Neill facing race against time for new signings

August 18, 2006

New Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill admits he is facing a race against time to strengthen his squad before the transfer window slams shut at the end of this month.

With the projected takeover by American billionaire Randy Lerner still to be completed, O'Neill is still in the dark over his budget for the season ahead.

And he is almost certain there will be no new arrivals in time for his side's big Premiership kick-off against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

O'Neill said: 'Saturday might be rather too early but we have got until the end of August, by which time we will have played three games.

'Obviously I am trying to assess everything as quickly as possible. There would be no point turning round and saying there is something imminent - at the moment there isn't.'

O'Neill has urged his squad to shut out thoughts of any takeover although he admits his own mind has wandered as he gets to grips the financial implications of any deal.

'The very obvious problem is the lack of time to the transfer deadline and therefore a consortium is not going to be in place for that,' O'Neill told Villa's official website, avfc.co.uk.

'I carry on with the budget I have been given by the current regime. I really cannot see any change in that. We are a Plc until things are signed.'

O'Neill has a number of injury concerns ahead of Villa's opening game with defenders Wilfred Bouma and Gary Cahill struggling with hamstring and knee problems respectively.

Martin Laursen's recovery from a knee injury may have come too late for him to force his way back into the reckoning while Milan Baros (foot) and Patrik Berger (hamstring) are definitely out.