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Davis is fired up for clash with O'Neill boys

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland star Steve Davis is relishing returning to Villa Park.

The classy midfielder, who helped his country beat Liechtenstein 3-1 at Windsor Park on Wednesday night, moved from Aston Villa in the summer to Fulham.

Tomorrow he goes back to the midlands to play for his new club against the one where he made his name.

Under David O'Leary, Davis emerged as a key player for Villa and won the Player of the Year award in the 2005-2006 campaign, but last season with Martin O'Neill in charge, his chances were limited.

O'Neill though has claimed he wanted Davis to remain at the club rather than move to tomorrow's opponents Fulham.

He said: "I would have genuinely preferred if Steven had stayed at the club but that wasn't to be.

"I can understand players and their reluctance to stay around and think they are just part of the squad. My job here is to try and improve the team.

"I would have preferred some players to stay at the club and Steven comes into that category."

As for Davis, he told The Belfast Telegraph: " I'm relishing going back to Villa with Fulham.

"I still have lots of good friends there and have happy memories from my time at the club. There will be no sentiment though because I will be going all out for a Fulham win."

ANDY Cole was set to have a medical at Sunderland today with a view to signing for former team-mate Roy Keane.

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