Houllier plays down Carew row

Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov urged Houllier and Carew to resolve any differences in the aftermath of the midweek home defeat by Sunderland. Emile Heskey's red card against the Black Cats leaves Houllier with Gabriel Agbonlahor as the only senior striker available for the FA Cup clash at Sheffield United.

Carew - a target for West Brom - could be back for the derby clash with Birmingham at St Andrew's in nine days time if he has regained sufficient sharpness. But Houllier is adamant there are no bridges to be built with the Norway international, who has been Villa's leading scorer for the past three seasons.

Houllier said: "Myself and John spoke before the Manchester City game. He didn't feel up to playing. He had missed training for various reasons and needed to work on his fitness which he is doing now.

"I will be delighted to have him in the squad and to play. Am I happy with his attitude? John is grown-up. If he feels he is not fit enough for the game, I take that on board.

"We know John. He can be outstanding. He is a very likeable person. There is no fall-out between John and myself. I am sure he has been working on his fitness and doing well. I don't think he will be involved in the FA Cup game but at some stage after that. I trust him to be back as soon as he is ready. We need him anyway."

Source: PA

Source: PA