Sidwell plays down fears

Midfielder targeting long Uefa Cup run

Sidwell: No concerns

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Steve Sidwell has dismissed suggestions that Aston Villa might be physically affected by their early start to the season.

Villa have already played competitive football this summer, battling to a 3-2 aggregate victory over Odense BK in the Intertoto Cup.

However, Sidwell is not worried about the situation and insists he is pleased just to be playing after a frustrating season at Chelsea.

He said: "It makes for a long season ahead but it won't be a problem. I missed a lot of football last season so I'm just happy to be out on the pitch playing again.

"I'm looking forward to every single game."

Sidwell, who tasted just six minutes of UEFA Champions League action with Chelsea, is confident that Villa can enjoy a successful European campaign.

He commented: "Playing in Europe for any team is a massive thing for any player and any club and we have achieved the first objective by getting through in the Intertoto.

"I had a very brief taste of Europe in the Champions League last season with

Chelsea but I'd love to play a big part in the Uefa Cup and enjoy a good run with Villa."

Davies backing Bouma

Curtis Davies, meanwhile, has backed fellow defender Wilfred Bouma to bounce back from his injury nightmare.

The Dutchman is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after dislocating his right ankle in a collision with Odense's Baye Djiby Fall.

Davies, who ruptured his Achilles tendon against Arsenal in March, has paid tribute to his team-mate's strength of character.

He said: "I know what it feels like when you've just done the injury and you're looking at a lengthy lay-off.

"But I think Freddie's the right sort of character to deal with this. He's strong and he knows he needs to get his head down and work hard.

"Nobody will do it for him and, when he comes back for rehab, he needs to get straight into his work and I'm sure he'll do that because he's a determined character.

"He had a great season last year and I'm sure he'll want to prove he can do that again.

"He'll want to come back stronger than ever and hopefully he'll be back sooner rather than later. But I know Villa won't rush him back."