Houllier hopes to boost Villa squad

29 October 2010 02:49
Gerard Houllier admits he needs to strengthen his Aston Villa squad during the January transfer window.[LNB] Houllier is preparing for his first derby against Birmingham on Sunday without several key players through injury and suspension.[LNB]Skipper Stiliyan Petrov and striker Gabriel Agbonlahor are sidelined through injury, while fast emerging winger Marc Albrighton is suspended after his red card against Burnley in the Carling Cup.[LNB]Houllier is not a big fan of the January window but acknowledges he will need to add new blood.[LNB]He said: "I don't like January because January is not a good period. But you need to be blind not to see that there are some areas where we are not blessed with numbers.[LNB]"If we spot a really good player with internationally-proven experience who can bring something to the team, particularly in some areas, we will take him.[LNB]"We need to bring some players in. That's it. I think we will have one or two coming in January. "Will it be up front? Not necessarily."[LNB]Houllier is aware of the passion generated by a derby but stressed the need to concentrate on playing football at Villa Park.[LNB]He is also expecting the same response from his long-time friend and Birmingham manager Alex McLeish.[LNB]He said: "I had the Lyon-St Etienne derbies and the Liverpool-Everton derbies. I know the importance of the derby for the fans and the players. The players talk about it, which is good.[LNB]"All I know is that we need to play our football. At the end of the day, it is a game of football.[LNB]"Knowing their manager very well, I don't think he will pump up the players to do anything but just play football.[LNB]"The more fiery it becomes, the more composure you have to give. The derbies also shows a lot about the character of your players. I very much like the mental attitude of the players."[LNB]Villa have won only one of their last six Premier League matches but Houllier is happy with the level of performance.[LNB]He added: "I don't think our defeat against Tottenham or Sunderland should make us blush. The performance levels have been better than the results. That is the message to the players."[LNB]Villa have triumphed in the last six meetings with Birmingham, three of them with McLeish in charge.[LNB]But Houllier feels that record will have little bearing on Sunday's noon encounter.[LNB]He said: "The past is the past, whether it is players or results. It is a different era.[LNB]"We are looking forward to this derby. Don't make reference to the past.[LNB]"That is always the message to the players. The most important game is the coming game, and that's the derby."[LNB]

Source: Team_Talk