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Villans' boss happy to have pair for new campaign

Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill is keen to keep Luke Young and Steve Sidwell at the club next year despite both players being linked with moves elsewhere.

Young was the subject of a bid from Liverpool this week, but turned down a switch to Anfield, while Sidwell has been interesting Fulham.

O’Neill has yet to confirm what part the pair will play in the upcoming season and whether first team opportunities will be readily available. However, he insists he is happy to have them in his ranks.

Regarding Young's situation, he told the club's official website: "I don't actually know exactly, but I think the news is that the move has not materialised. I'm not sure what the reasons are.

"I've been asked, 'how does that affect people?', but if it doesn't materialise, that's everybody in with a fighting chance again so from that viewpoint it's not the death knell on anybody.

"I can't start thinking that some players are going to leave the football club and make assumptions on that, so everybody here will get a proper chance to go and be as fit as they can so that when the season opens up, they've had some sort of opportunity to do that."

On Sidwell, he added: "Again, I don't really know. I think the manager that was down to go there [Fulham], Martin Jol, obviously stayed. [at Ajax] So I think that situation is certainly very much still in the balance.

"With a new manager coming in [Mark Hughes], it might be a different thought. I don't know if that will make things happen more quickly or not.

"Steve played against Walsall the other day. I think he's pleased to get some football in, which is very important and, at this minute, I wouldn't question anybody's attitude, particularly in terms of the training they've been doing.

"It's not as if anybody's decided I'm not going to be part of this, therefore I'm not going to train as hard."

O’Neill signed Young and Sidwell from Middlesborough and Chelsea, respectively, in the summer of 2008, with the pair racking up a combined 91 appearances for Villa.

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