Premier League

Harewood's future unclear

Villa striker left in the dark

Harewood: Hoping to shine in Europe

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Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill admits he 'doesn't know what the future holds' for Marlon Harewood.

The former Nottingham Forest and West Ham striker has struggled to make an impact at Villa Park since completing a £4million switch from the Hammers in 2007.

He has looked lively on the rare appearances he has been awarded, but those have been few and far between.

The 29-year-old is expected to be included in O'Neill's starting XI for Villa's Uefa Cup clash with Zilina on Thursday, and will be desperate to leave a positive impression.

The European encounter could represent his first start in two months, a situation that has led to mounting speculation regarding a New Year exit.

West Brom and Stoke are both believed to be interested in the jet-heeled front-man, although O'Neill has remained non-committal when pressed on the subject.

Humble pie

"The speculation is not coming from me," the Villa boss told the Express and Star.

"I just don't know. I don't want to be making absolute statements and then find out you are eating a fair dose of humble pie about two days later."

Villa only need a point to book their place in the last 32 of this season's Uefa Cup and O'Neill is hoping that Harewood can help fire them into the knockout stages.

"I don't want to be putting undue pressure on him but he will come in," added the Ulsterman.

"He is fresh now and raring to go. His enthusiasm should be at its peak."