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Gerard Houllier insists Aston Villa are united as he recalls Richard Dunne and James Collins

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31 Mar 2011 16:38:18

Gerard Houllier insists Aston Villa are united as he recalls Richard Dunne and James Collins

'It is gone and over': Gerard Houllier has moved on after Richard Dunne (above) and James Collins' (below) antics Gerard Houllier insists all sections of Aston Villa are united for the relegation fight ahead as he prepares to recall defenders James Collins and Richard Dunne for Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at Everton. Collins and Dunne were fined two weeks wages for their behaviour towards members of the coaching staff during a team bonding session at a health spa three weeks ago. But Houllier says the matter has been consigned to history and is poised to bring the experienced duo back into the side now they are recovered from shoulder and calf injuries respectively. Dunne and Collins proved their fitness when on international duty for the Republic of Ireland and Wales. Houllier said: 'The only thing I can say is that the events(involving Dunne and Collins) are finished. It has been dealt with, itis gone and over. 'The players expressed their will to the club and to myself thatthey want to give their best for their fans and the club. It is good. 'They were unfortunately both injured for the last game againstWolves but they are available after playing for Ireland and Wales. 'If they are fit, they will play. It is as simple as that because they are personality players and they have the club at heart. They have also strong experience.' Houllier came in for criticism from fans during and after the 1-0 defeat to Wolves and a banner paraded on the Holte End before the game called for him to leave Villa. But the Frenchman wants everyone to be united for the eight games which will decide Villa's fate. Poor form: Aston Villa have massively underachieved this season He said: 'Everyone is entitled to think what they want but I took the job because it was a challenge. 'The challenge is bigger now because of what happened but sometimes you battle to get in Europe or a cup. 'Here we are battling adversity together. Together, that means the team, the staff, management, the owner, chief executive, the fans, everybody.' Houllier added: 'The fans play an important part. When the fans show the banner, you are not very happy about that. 'But I came here because I've got pride in being at this club. I said that straightaway and that hasn't changed. Getting their message across: Villa fans display their banner at the Wolves game 'I've got pleasure in what I'm doing. It's not because things are not particularly easy. 'Sometimes you go through hard times at this job. 'Also I've got a challenge, and the challenge is eight games and, also, the unity is there.' Fit-again Dunne has set his sights higher than just survival and is targeting a top-10 finish. He said: 'It's been a tough season for us all and we know there are tough games still to be played but everyone is up for the challenge. 'We have eight games to turn this around and we're all in it together, to make sure that the club secures a safe position and climbs the table to as high a place as possible. 'Everton will not be an easy place to go to try to begin this run but the incentive is there, with the table still being so tight, to grab a top-half finish. That's far from beyond us.' Dunne believes the international break came at the right time. He said: 'Obviously, our confidence was knocked a bit by the result against Wolves. In that sense, the international break probably did us some good.'  Sportsmail's experts deliver their verdicts on the season so far...Friedel warns Wilshere and co they'll regret not playing in the Olympics Villa track Le Havre ace Mendes da Graca ahead of double summer swoopAll the latest Aston Villa news, features and opinion  Explore more:People: Richard Dunne, Gerard Houllier Places: Republic of Ireland, Wales, Ireland, Europe


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