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Palmer: Sanchez good, Giroud bad

Premier League
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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Villa hero Cahill puts contract wrangle on backburner

New hero Gary Cahill has insisted his future at Aston Villa is 'not an issue' and his main concern is becoming a first-team regular under David O'Leary.

The central defender, who scored a spectacular goal in Sunday's derby win over Birmingham, has been locked in contract talks with Villa which remain unresolved.

Villa boss O'Leary has insisted the 'ball is in Gary's court' after receiving an offer which will quadruple his current salary.

But academy product Cahill is concentrating fully on trying to hold onto his senior spot after helping Villa to draw with West Brom and defeat Blues in the absence of injured skipper Olof Mellberg.

Cahill, who is likely to remain in the side at Wigan tonight, said: 'The contract thing is in the past. It is not an issue for me. I have still got a long time left here and I am more than happy here.

'The contract is not even on my mind. I have read things in the last few weeks which have made me a little bit upset and a bit disappointed.

'The main thing for me this season is to be playing first-team football. That is far more important to me than anything else. The contract will take care of itself.

'Hopefully we can get something sorted when it is right and when the season is finished. I am just concentrating on keeping my place in the team.'

Cahill added: 'I can see the manager's point of view. Everyone seems to be saying it is based on money. There are a lot of things that aren't about money. I keep seeing I have turned this down, I have turned that down and that is not the case.

'If you play in the Premiership, money comes along anyway. It is more important for me to play in the Premiership. I have done well in my two games but I don't want to be a flash in the pan.

'Consistency is the key. If I can keep being consistent in performances, than everything else will take care of itself.

'I am more than happy here. I am enjoying my football. I have still got a long time left on my current contract and I am more than happy.'

Another academy player, midfielder Craig Gardner, is likely to be given an opportunity at the JJB Stadium in place of hamstring victim Steven Davis.

O'Leary insisted: 'People have been on about us being sucked into a relegation battle. I have been thinking about catching the teams above us and we will be striving for that in the final four games of the season.'