Villa Aim To Shackle Target...Man

Last updated : 16 January 2009 By Tom Vickers
They say that former players are always likely to haunt you, but what about possible future players? Do they hold the same spell over their could be employers?

As Villa get set for a trip to face Sunderland on Saturday, Martin O'Neill and his men will be preparing for a physical battle against one of the top strikers in the Premier League.

Kenwyne Jones, the Trinidad and Tobago frontman, is undoubtedly hot property at the moment and with John Carew still sidelined, Villa have been linked with a bid.

The fee being bandied about is around £14m, which seems a little over-exaggerated considering Jones has scored just 14 goals in 47 appearances for the Black Cats.

But, as with Emile Heskey who has also been linked with the Claret and Blue, it is more about presence than prowess when it comes to finding a partner for Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Jones, 24, fits the bill and a good performance at the Stadium of Light on Saturday could just see him making the journey to Villa Park before the end of the month.

In the mean time, the Claret and Blue will be looking to stop Jones and co in a bid to maintain their fourth place position in the Premier League.


Should Villa win and Chelsea fail to beat Stoke, O'Neill's men would move above Phil Scolari's side into third spot, having played the same number of games.

Now, if you had said that the Villans would be above Chelsea at this stage of the season then people would have probably called for the men in white coats.

Villa will need to deal with the men in red and white stripes first and they have not lost there in the last two seasons.

Shaun Maloney's delicious free kick snatched a point for the visitors last season and the year before, Villa walked away with an impressive 3-1 win.

Ricky Sbragia has failed to win his first two league games since being made permanent Sunderland boss and he will be looking to make it third time lucky.

But, Villa have been simply awesome on their travels this season and they are likely to name the same the same side that beat West Brom 2-1 last weekend. Carlos Cuellar is pushing for a recall but Nigel Reo-Coker is set to retain his place.

A repeat of their early season victory over the Black Cats would be very welcome for Villa but if they are to achieve their aim, Jones must not be allowed any joy.