Villa deny Carew contract claim

Villa have today rubbished claims they have cancelled the contract of striker John Carew.


Villa have today rubbished claims they have cancelled the contract of striker John Carew.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis stated that Carew could play for the Potters at Villa Park this afternoon after he claimed that the Norway international had his Villa contract cancelled.

"John has come back and he's fit, he's trained well so he will be involved against Villa," said Pulis.

"Villa cancelled his contract and we took it on until the end of the season, so he can play."

But Villa have today denied that this is the case and they are adamant that if Carew features it will be in breach of the loan agreement between the clubs.

The claret and blues have also refuted Pulis' comments about Villa cancelling the 31-year-old striker's contract. A Villa source said: "Carew can't play because Premier League rules don't allow a player out on loan to play against his parent club while his contract has not been cancelled."

Meanwhile, assistant boss Gary McAllister today admitted he 'feared the worst' when he received a telephone call that Villa manager Gerard Houllier had been taken to hospital.

The incident brought back memories of Liverpool's clash with Leeds in October 2001 when McAllister was a player and had watched Houllier in distress when giving his half-time teamtalk.

"I was thinking the worst. I was there in the dressing room when things went and I know what happened when he left Anfield that day," said McAllister.

"He was quickly rushed to hospital and had 11-hour surgery. This time that's not the case. There is no surgery required. I was relieved to hear that things are pretty settled and the doctors want him there so that they can monitor him, do the tests they need to do and get him back on an even keel.

"I think this time when he returns is definitely going to be dictated by the doctors and the specialist. It cannot be the gaffer's decision or anyone at Villa.

"It's got to be the doctors and the people at the hospital who tell him when he's ready to go back. He would be foolish to not listen to these people."

And McAllister has defended Nigel Reo-Coker after reports West Ham midfielder Gary O'Neil was considering taking legal action against him.

O'Neil was carried off on a stretcher after being challenged by Reo-Coker during the Hammers' 2-1 home defeat by Villa last weekend and is facing at least several months out of action.

But McAllister said: "I am surprised. It's a good tackle and it's the follow-through of Gary O'Neil which catches the base of Nigel's boot."

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