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Football: O'Neill set to move for Keane.

Byline: By Bill Howell OUR MAN AT VILLA

MARTIN O'Neill says Villa can continue to "reach for the stars" this season - and he is understood to be running the rule over Tottenham striker Robbie Keane in an effort to bring Villa closer to their dreams.

Keane has found himself out of the Spurs team in recent weeks with Dimitar Berbatov, Mido and Jermain Defoe preferred.

He came off the bench in midweek and scored his second goal of the campaign in the Carling Cup-tie at MK Dons but is yet to open his account in the Premiership.

Keane almost joined Villa from Wolves seven years ago but John Gregory baulked at the pounds 5million asking price.

O'Neill knows it would cost much more now to lure the 26-year-old Republic of Ireland frontman back to the Midlands.

He is giving nothing away with regards to his targets but has admitted that he wants only top-quality additions.

And O'Neill has already stated he could be hampered by clubs still involved in European competition.

He said: "I think that the squad needs strengthening.

"The really good players in the dressing room would admit that it would be fantastic if we could get a little bit more help and that is part of my job.

"I just hope the fans will trust me to do it as best I can.

"I will not please everybody but if there are more than a handful think I am doing okay, then that will be all right.

"Eventually you live or die by what happens on the field of play and, obviously, the more preparation I have for it and the further I am able to look in terms of quality then the better chance you have of getting it right."

O'Neill has concerns about the depth of his squad with Gavin McCann sidelined with a calf injury and Stiliyan Petrov now going down with foot blisters.

Youngsters Isiah Osbourne and Craig Gardner and the hopelessly out-of-favour Eric Djemba-Djemba are left to fight for a central midfield spot alongside Steven Davis.

As a consequence, Lee Hendrie may well be recalled from his loan spell with Stoke City early next week.

O'Neill said: "We are going fine at this minute. I am just a wee bit concerned about the size of the squad. If we get injuries and suspensions, which are inevitable, it is how we are able to cope."

CAPTION(S):

SIDELINED... Robbie Keane is struggling to hold down a regular place at White Hart Lane.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 28, 2006
Words:419
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