O'Neill: No Lerner block on Villa spending

August 8, 2007

Martin O'Neill insists Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has not put a cap on his spending plans this summer.

O'Neill had been promised 'significant funds' by Lerner but to date has only signed the West Ham duo Nigel Reo-Coker and Marlon Harewood.

West Brom are will not accept less than £8million for skipper Curtis Davies, another O'Neill target, but the former Celtic boss is adamant he retains the full financial backing of Lerner.

O'Neill said: 'Randy Lerner has not put a cap on anything I might spend and it is about me trying to find the proper acquisitions for us to be of a reasonable strength.

'I have had a number of conversations with him. He is leaving things up to me and he has, and will continue to be supportive, and that will be shown.

'We have a nucleus of a good side. Not numerically speaking, but in terms of quality I think we are getting there but I have every intention of adding to the squad.

'Ideally I would like to go back to the size of squad that we had at the end of last season. We've lost six or seven players and only improved it by two so far.'

Craig Gardner looks favourite to fill the right-back role against Liverpool on Monday unless O'Neill can bring in new blood in that position in the next 72 hours.

Midfielder Gardner played there for the opening 45 minutes of Villa's final pre-season friendly against Walsall on Tuesday evening.

O'Neill is short of right-backs since the departure of Aaron Hughes to Fulham and the continuing doubts over Mark Delaney's fitness.