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By ESPN Staff

O'Neill to step-up efforts to sign WBA's Davies

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill will redouble his efforts to sign West Brom central defender Curtis Davies after admitting Martin Laursen will not be able to stand up to the rigours of a full season.

O'Neill has monitored Davies for several months and his scouts watched the England under-21 player in action for the Baggies against Heerenveen at the weekend.

Laursen, in the last year of his current contract, has made a good recovery from his long-term knee problems and scored against Inter Milan in Saturday's 3-0 win at Villa Park.

But O'Neill, who has lost the services of Liam Ridgewell to Birmingham, knows the Danish international is unlikely to be able to play a full season and is keen to land the signature of Davies.

He said: 'Laursen has a heart the size of a lion and he and Olof Mellberg have played very well together. But that does not mean we don't need some extra players.

'We are looking at that because Martin Laursen, with the best will in the world, could not see a season out. He is just not physically capable of doing that.

'We need people in that position, at full-back and a few others. Gary Cahill is learning his trade and is improving and doing great, but we need someone else in there'.

Albion are likely to want £8million for Davies who is also attracting the interest of Tottenham.

O'Neill is also stepping up his bid to sign Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon, although he faces competition from Sunderland, and is hoping to gain permission to talk to the Scotland international.

And a right-back is also a priority with Aaron Hughes departed to Fulham and speculation that Mark Delaney is about to announce his retirement after a long-term knee problem.