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VILLA SUSPEND BANNAN

Aston Villa have confirmed that they have suspended midfielder Barry Bannan until they have had a full inquiry into his high-speed motorway crash.

The accident happened on Sunday evening, after Bannan had spent the afternoon with footballing friend (and former Villa footballer) James Collins. As they were driving back towards Birmingham on the M1 their vehicle veered out of control, and it was only sheer chance that meant that nobody was hurt.

VILLA TO SIGN TWO PLAYERS

Aston Villa are reportedly close to signing two players in the January transfer window. Houllier will fly to France to speak to Lyon about the prospects of capturing the 27-year-old Cameroon player.

"He can play as a holding player or as a box-to-box midfielder," Houllier said. "We are working on [the deal]."

Houllier also remains interested in signing Blackpool captain Charlie Adam after making an improved £3.5m bid.

Villa have also been linked to Nicolas Anelka and Ryan Babel.

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DUNNE CONCERN FOR VILLA

Richard Dunne is a source for great concern for Aston Villa as they prepare to face Blackburn Rovers in the Carling Cup. The third-round encounter at Villa Park on Wednesday will be Gerard Houllier's first game in charge after he officially took over the reins on Monday.

However, the former Liverpool boss could be without influential defender Richard Dunne, who is struggling with a leg injury. Dunne was replaced by Carlos Cuellar at half-time of Saturday's 1-1 draw with Bolton Wanderers and may miss out against Blackburn.

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VILLA 3 IN ENGLAND SQUAD

ASTON VILLA will have three players in England's final World Cup squad.

As expected, Emile Heskey and James Milner made it into the final 23 for the flight to South Africa.

But more surprising was Fabio Capello's decision to pick Stephen Warnock as one of his defenders ahead of Everton's Leighton Baines.

The only other Midlands representation comes in the form of Joe Hart, who rocketed into the the England squad on the back of an excellent season at Birmingham City before returning to Manchester City.

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