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By ESPN Staff

Villa poised to complete £4million Knight deal

Aston Villa are hoping to complete the £3.5million signing of Fulham defender Zat Knight before tonight's Carling Cup tie at Wrexham.

Birmingham-born Knight is having a medical with Villa later today and, providing their are no problems, he should become Martin O'Neill's fourth signing of the summer.

Knight put pen to paper on a new three-year deal with the Cottagers earlier in the summer.

But Fulham boss Lawrie Sanchez is prepared to let the 27-year-old leave after an eight-year association with the club.

O'Neill has wanted to bring in a new centre-back to provide competition for former skipper Olof Mellberg, injury worry Martin Laursen and the inexperienced Gary Cahill.

Knight was signed by Kevin Keegan for Fulham in 1999 and he forced his way into the England Under-21 side and then the full squad.

He made his England senior debut as a replacement for Sol Campbell against the United States in Chicago in May 2005 and three days later completed the full 90 minutes against Colombia in New York.

O'Neill has kept tabs on Knight throughout the summer and he has come more to the fore after the Irishman became frustrated in his bid to sign West Brom defender Curtis Davies.

O'Neill has not given up hope in that direction and may make another bid before the transfer window closes but offers of £6million and £8million have fallen short of the Baggies' valuation of the player who is also wanted by Tottenham.

Ironically, Knight unintentionally gave Villa a helping hand in their 2-1 win over Fulham on Saturday, deflecting a shot from Ashley Young past Kasey Keller for the equaliser.

The other main priority for O'Neill in the next 72 hours is to secure a right-back after the departure of Aaron Hughes to Fulham and Mark Delaney's retirement.

He has been employing midfielder Craig Gardner in the role in the opening four Premier League games but that is only a short-term solution.

O'Neill has been linked with Chelsea's out-of-favour defender Glen Johnson.