Baros admits Villa speculation
By Phil Jackson
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Czech Republic striker Milan Baros has confirmed he nearly left the club this summer.
Czech Republic striker Milan Baros has returned to action for Aston Villa and confirmed he was close to leaving the club this summer.
The 24-year-old hit-man has been sidelined since picking up a foot injury for his country at the World Cup in Germany.
But he enjoyed an hour of action in the Premiership side's friendly run-out against Lincoln City on Tuesday and has confirmed his commitment to the cause following the arrival of Martin O'Neill and Randy Lerner at Villa Park.
"This is an exciting time for the club. It looked like I was going to move this summer, but we have a new owner and a new manager," he told the club's website.
"I can see this club is showing ambition and I decided to stay because I want to play a part in the exciting times at Villa."
Midfielder Patrik Berger and defenders Martin Laursen and Wilfred Bouma also came through the match against the League Two side unscathed.
But Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen has warned his team-mate Laursen that he faces a battle to earn a place at the heart of the Villans' defence.
The 29-year-old £3 million signing from Milan has returned to the fold after being dogged by a knee problem for nearly two years.
But with the Birmingham side earning seven points from a possible nine so far, including an impressive 1-1 draw away at Arsenal, Sorensen believes his colleague may have to be content with a place on the bench for now.
"Martin is really doing well and now he needs some games. It is a big victory for him just to be on the bench," Sorensen explained.
"Three or four months ago it looked like he was heading for January before he could return.
"He is well ahead of schedule. With a few more reserve games under his belt, Martin will be ready to play in the first team - but it will be hard for him to get in with the way we are playing at the moment.
"Olof Mellberg and Liam Ridgewell have done really well and Gary Cahill is still to come back. In a couple of months' time there will be a real battle for those places in the team."
Both Laursen and Baros could well feature as substitutes in Villa's next Premiership test away at West Ham United live on Sky Sports 1 on Sunday.