Football: Draper's Villa disquiet

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The Independent Online
THE ASTON VILLA midfielder Mark Draper, who has not played in a first-team game all season, has confirmed his desire to leave Villa Park.

"It is obvious that there is no chance of my getting in the first team at Villa so I want to leave," said the 29-year-old Draper, who saw a move to Derby County fall through last week after the clubs failed to agree a deal. "If a First Division team were challenging for promotion, I have to be interested. I have been a first-team regular since I was 17 so I find things difficult at the moment.

"There have been bids to sign me on loan, but I am not interested in them, I want a permanent move. I am at my peak of my career and last season I was playing better than ever."

Craig Burley is ready to leave Celtic next week, with Derby apparently poised to sign him in what would be a surprise pounds 2m deal. The midfielder, who is likely to play against England in the Euro 2000 qualifiers, could have played his final game for John Barnes' side in last weekend's Old Firm defeat by Rangers.

Burley was also a target for Sheffield Wednesday, but the bottom-placed Premiership club were unable to raise the fee.