Curtis Davies admitted he is "chomping at the bit" to make a big impression at Aston Villa as he prepares to finally make his debut in tonight's Carling Cup tie with Leicester at Villa Park.
Davies had a hamstring injury when he moved from West Bromwich and the presence of Martin Laursen and fellow new boy Zat Knight mean that until now he has had to be content with a place on the bench. But will get his opportunity against Villa manager Martin O'Neill's former club, and is determined to give O'Neill a selection headache for Monday's Premier League meeting with Tottenham.
Davies said: "I want to repay the faith shown in me by Martin O'Neill with my performances on the park. The manager's record speaks for itself. He has turned players like Muzzy Izzet, Emile Heskey and Robbie Savage into great players and hopefully I can be one of those players who goes the same way.
"This is a great squad of young and hungry players and I want to play my full part. It's great that I am going to get the chance to make my debut. I think the manager would be happy that I am impatient to get into his first XI because if players don't have that attitude then they don't deserve to play.
"I have been a regular player wherever I've played and I hope to be the same at Villa. I'd certainly like to give him a headache for the Tottenham game." O'Neill confirmed: "Curtis will play. He has recovered from his injury. I want to see him in action and we now have good competition at the back for places."
O'Neill turned Leicester into a formidable force, twice winning the League Cup. Since then they have slipped into the doldrums but he anticipates that new manager Gary Megson will have them fully motivated and is mindful that Villa needed a last-minute goal from Gabriel Agbonlahor to edge past them 3-2 after extra-time in the competition last season at the Walkers Stadium.
O'Neill added: "I still have a soft spot for Leicester. I had a difficult start after we didn't win for 10 games and I copped some stick from the fans for a time. But we managed to turn it around and had some good times. I've been told that Gary has also been getting a bit of stick but maybe that was more to do with the fact some of the fans weren't happy Martin Allen left after a few games. He is a good manager and he will have them galvanised and thinking that they can get a result at Villa Park."
O'Neill is set to make changes from the side which defeated Everton on Sunday – one enforced with John Carew sidelined for up to six weeks with knee ligament damage – but he will still be fielding a powerful side with Davies, Marlon Harewood, Stilian Petrov, Shaun Maloney, Craig Gardner and Isaiah Osbourne set to be drafted in.
O'Neill said: "It is a route into Europe and a chance to win a trophy, so I take the League Cup seriously."Reuse content