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By ESPN Staff

I can play for years, says Villa defender Laursen

Aston Villa defender Martin Laursen has set his sights on becoming one of football's golden oldies - if he can avoid a repeat of the injury problems which dogged his early career with the midlands club.

The Denmark international, who last week signed a new two-and-a-half-year contract with Villa, feels he can play on into his mid to late 30s.

And 30-year-old Laursen believes the man-motivating skills of Villa manager Martin O'Neill are helping to bring the best out of him and his team-mates.

Villa will go fourth in the Barclays Premier League if they overcome visiting Blackburn in on Saturday's rescheduled home encounter.

Laursen said: 'You never know in football. You don't know what might happen in the next game. But, if I am lucky with injuries, I think I can carry on playing for a long time.

'I certainly have some energy that I have to come out of myself now and over the next few years, because I haven't played very much.

'If I am able to play until I am 36 to 37 then it will be great. But it depends how I feel physically and how lucky I am not to pick up anymore injuries.'

Laursen is brimming with confidence because of O'Neill, who is looking to add some new faces during the final week of the January transfer window.

He said: 'You want people around you to want you. That is what is important for me as a person as well. I need to feel important to play well.

'I feel important because of my relationship with the manager, the things he is saying about me, and that is important for me. He is definitely a winner.

'I think he's got problems with himself when we are losing and he doesn't like that. He wants to do well and he has got big dreams for this club, and we feel that.

'That's why we are responding so well when we go a goal behind, that we come again and are able to come back and get a point or three points because our leader is a good example to follow.

'A leader should always be a good example and that's why a leader is so important. He makes the example and we all follow. That is a good thing, definitely.'

On loan Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson is poised to return in place of Stuart Taylor after being ineligible for the 2-2 draw at Anfield on Monday.

Skipper Gareth Barry is battling to overcome the pelvic injury which forced him to miss the meeting with the Reds and, if he is ruled out, Craig Gardner is likely to deputise once more.