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By ESPN Staff

Blackburn allow Friedel to talk to Villa

Aston Villa have been given permission by Blackburn to speak to their veteran American goalkeeper Brad Friedel, Villans boss Martin O'Neill has confirmed.

The 37-year-old signed a contract extension at Ewood Park in February this year but has repeatedly been linked with the midlands club in recent weeks.

And O'Neill said: 'We've been given permission to talk to the player and that's something that we want to do. But there are still lots of things to happen.

'We're in the process of strengthening the squad and this is all part of our efforts to add strength in depth.'

O'Neill has been in desperate need of goalkeeping reinforcements after losing Scott Carson, whose loan from Liverpool was not turned into a permanent deal, and Thomas Sorensen, who lapsed out of contract, this summer.

That left Stuart Taylor, with just nine league starts to his name in three seasons at Villa Park, as the only stopper in the first-team squad.

Villa have a deal in place for another American goalkeeper, Brad Guzan, but his transfer from MLS club Chivas USA hinges on a work permit hearing scheduled for next week.

New Rovers manager Paul Ince has been linked with a move for Tottenham's England goalkeeper Paul Robinson if Friedel leaves for Villa.

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