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Aug 28, 2009

Warnock targets top four

Aston Villa's new signing Stephen Warnock is relishing the challenge of breaking into the Premier League's top four after completing his £7m switch from Blackburn Rovers.

The 27-year-old signed a four-year deal at Villa Park and was presented to the fans before watching his new employers crash out of the Europa League at the hands of Rapid Vienna on Thursday night.

But the former Liverpool left-back, who could make his debut in Sunday's home league clash against Fulham, is not dwelling on Villa's European exit. Warnock said: "The main aim is to be pushing for that top-four spot. That's the ambition. The manager is buying some really talented players, young and ambitious, and I'm sure they will see that top-four spot as a target and goal."

He continued: "Playing in Europe is important, playing against the top players on the continent is fantastic, and there's no better stage to do that than on the Champions League. If we could do that, it would be a great achievement."

Villa boss Martin O'Neill said: "Stephen is a very good footballer. He can play in a number of positions, which is always good for us. Overall he will do very well for us."

O'Neill is also hoping to complete the signing of Manchester City skipper Richard Dunne after Villa released a statement confirming a fee had been agreed for the player.

But O'Neill is adamant there is work still to be done before that deal is finalised as he looks to further bolster his back four.

He said: "We are looking to try and reinforce the team between now and the transfer deadline and bring people in with experience and a bit of know-how.

"That is my intention and whatever is available for us, I will attempt to do. Is the Dunne deal close? No, nothing is remotely close at all."

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