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Wednesday, January 25, 2006
De La Cruz desperate to quit Villa Park

Ulises de la Cruz is seeking talks with Aston Villa boss David O'Leary as he ups his bid for a free transfer.

De la Cruz badly wants to leave Villa, who want around 200,000 for his services, to secure regular first-team football and ensure his place in Ecuador's World Cup plans.

The 31-year-old has made 95 appearances since his 1.5million move from Hibernian in 2002 - but has started just two Barclays Premiership games this

season. De la Cruz said: 'It is a frustrating time for me. The manager has not given me the chance to prove myself and yet he has said I can't leave on a free transfer.

'I only care to leave because of the World Cup and my family. I need the manager to understand my situation and let me leave on a `free'.'

De la Cruz has won 107 caps for his country but admitted: 'Ecuador have called me and ask why I am not playing for Villa. The World Cup is very important for me.'

Meanwhile, Villa striker Kevin Phillips has spelled out his desire to play some part in Saturday's FA Cup tie against Port Vale after scoring twice for the reserves against Manchester City last night.

Phillips has now had two second-team run-outs after a two-month absence with an ankle problem and wants to be involved in the fourth-round tie.

He said: 'I'm not 100 per cent but I am getting there. It's up to the gaffer to decide whether he thinks I am ready for the Port Vale game - but I want to be involved if possible. I am feeling good in myself.'

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