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Laursen close to new deal
13 Jan 2008 - 15:45:38
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has confirmed that he is upbeat about the prospects of central defender Martin Laursen agreeing a new contract to extend his stay at Villa Park.
The 30-year-old Denmark international has overcome a mountain of injury problems to be a leading figure in Villa's hunt for a European place this season.
However, his current deal runs out next summer and fresh terms have yet to be agreed.
O'Neill said after the 3-1 win over Reading, in which Laursen netted his sixth goal of the season: "We want to do it (the new contract) and Martin has been pretty receptive.
"I cannot say for certain about anything until people actually sign a deal, but the fact is there would be a lot of fans at Villa, as well as myself, who would be disappointed if we didn't do it.
"What is the chance of it happening? I couldn't say. We want to do it and we've been in contact.
"But this has got nothing to do with Martin proving his fitness. He has done that now.
"Martin is a competitor, he doesn't think there are lost causes. He has been terrific. You would have got long odds on this 18 months ago and it is great credit to him.
"He was desperately trying to get fit and he had been out a long time. Lesser people than him might have thought 'this might not be for me'."