Thursday media watch [20.02.14 PM]: Vlaar/Given in spotlight
Express and Star: Ron Vlaar today admitted Villa are still in relegation danger and must stay alert in the race for survival. The claret and blues skipper insisted the club need to be aware of the chasing pack to stay out of trouble.
Sky Sports: Shay Given has revealed he wanted to extend his stay at Middlesbrough, but admits it was out of his hands. The veteran goalkeeper will be aiming to keep his tenth clean sheet in what will be his final game in a Boro shirt, after parent club Aston Villa and the Teesiders were unable to agree terms on an extension.
Goal.com: Jores Okore is nearing a return from his long-term knee injury, according to Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert. The 21-year-old defender has been sidelined since September 14, having been forced off with ruptured ligaments after half an hour of his side's 2-1 defeat to Newcastle.
Sky Sports: Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar admits he is wary of being dragged into a relegation scrap if his side falter in the remaining 12 matches of the Premier League season. Despite sitting in 12th, the Villans are just four points off the bottom three after just one win in their six league matches, with an embarrassing early FA Cup exit at the hands of League One side Sheffield United sandwiched in between.
ClubCall: Aston Villa are trying to sign Plymouth Argyle left-back Ben Purrington after he impressed against them in the FA Youth Cup. Villa have been tracking the progress of the 17-year-old defender since the youth team's 4-3 win over Plymouth in December in which Purrington scored.
Sky Sports: Goalkeeper Shay Given has been left out of the Republic of Ireland squad to face Serbia in a friendly in Dublin on March 5. Speculation had been rife that Given's successful loan spell with Middlesbrough would bring him back into Ireland boss Martin O'Neill's squad.
Sky Sports: A host of Premier League and Championship clubs are tracking Plymouth starlet Ben Purrington, Sky Sports understands. Purrington's progress has not gone unnoticed higher up the football pyramid with the likes of Liverpool, Aston Villa, Southampton, Reading, Brighton, Huddersfield and Bournemouth all keeping tabs on the player.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.
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