O'Neill quiet on Ferguson link
By Andrew Scurr. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Martin O'Neill has refused to be drawn on reports linking Aston Villa with Rangers outcast Barry Ferguson.
Ferguson has been linked with a host of Premiership clubs since being stripped of the Rangers captaincy by Paul Le Guen.
O'Neill declined to comment on the possibility of a bid for the midfielder, but insisted that there will be no transfer activity prior to the weekend FA Cup tie with Manchester United.
"I couldn't possibly make a comment. I am not going down that route of making a comment on a player. There is absolutely no point," O'Neill said.
"I think it would be difficult for us to have any signings before the FA Cup game with Manchester United. Nothing is impossible but it would be difficult."
O'Neill comes up against Sir Alex Ferguson for the second time in a matter of weeks on Sunday.
The Villa boss has heaped praise on the Scot, labelling him one of the game's greatest.
"The very fact is that Manchester United have been successful for a very long time and he's been there 20 years," O'Neill told Sky Sports News.
"Not every moment at Manchester United was a glorious moment, managers go through that, and he came through that rough period to end up being one of the great managers in the game."
Meanwhile, Villa midfielder Craig Gardner will be out of action for two weeks after picking up a groin strain against Chelsea on Tuesday.
Scans have eased fears of a longer lay-off, but O'Neill is still disappointed to be without one of his best performers in recent weeks.
He told the club's official website: "He's got a groin problem and it looks as if he'll be out for a couple of weeks.
"It's unfortunate, but he's hopefully not out for as long as we first feared, but he's going to be out for a while."