O'Neill hails Harewood impact
Striker's form eased Moore exit
By Ben Collins. Last Updated: February 21, 2008 6:13pm
Harewood: Gaining reward
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has revealed that Marlon Harewood's recent form convinced him to let Luke Moore join West Brom.
O'Neill has allowed Moore to join the Baggies on loan until the end of the season, and the 22-year-old striker will make a permanent switch in the summer if he impresses at the Hawthorns with the two clubs having already agreed a fee.
Moore made it clear he wanted a fresh start after rejecting a new deal before Christmas, but O'Neill did not feel he could manage without Moore until Harewood recently made his mark.
The 28-year-old made a £4million switch from West Ham last summer and although he is yet to make a league start, he has made a positive impression off the bench of late, scoring his third Villa goal at Liverpool before helping O'Neill's men recover from a half-time deficit to beat Newcastle 4-1.
"One of the things that made the decision to allow Luke Moore to leave a wee bit easier has been the performances of Marlon Harewood," O'Neill said.
"He has still not started a Premier League game for us but has had a major impact in matches coming off the bench.
"That is great for Marlon, and he feels much more part of it than ever before which is really terrific.
"When he was not involved much in terms of playing, he just got his head down and worked hard to try to make an impression and he is getting his reward now.
"I thought he rejuvenated us against Newcastle in the second half. He has made a big impact in recent times, starting at Liverpool, and he is thinking to himself 'I'll get the start soon'.
"He was ready for it against Newcastle. I thought he was great and caused them a lot of problems alongside John Carew but was also prepared to drop back when we were protecting the lead."
Moore is expected to complete his loan move to West Brom on Friday, which would make him eligible for the Championship play-offs if the Baggies fail to gain automatic promotion.
"They have met the asking price and we have agreed the fee," O'Neill confirmed.
"I am not asking for a loan fee because I have a chance of getting him back at the end of 28 days. You are not likely to ask someone for a fee is there is a possibility of a recall.
"Part of the deal involves the amount of games that he has to play - and included in that figure are games on loan."
O'Neill's attacking options are also set to be boosted by the return of Gabriel Agbonlahor for Sunday's clash at Reading after his recovery from a hamstring injury.
Agbonlahor recently received his first senior international call-up for the friendly against Switzerland but was forced to withdraw from the England squad and sit out the home victory against Newcastle.