Barry urges Villa to talk about new contract

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The Independent Football

The Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry has urged the club to sort out his long-term future "sooner rather than later".

The former England Under-21 captain has only 18 months of his current four-year contract to run and says it is "strange" that Villa are apparently reluctant to press on with negotiations over a new deal. Villa have already signed other young players such as the striker Darius Vassell and the wing-back Jlloyd Samuel on lucrative contracts.

Barry's advisers made representations to Villa early last month, but there has been no response from the Midlands' club. Barry, Villa's player of the year last season, wants to remain at the club but is anxious to avoid entering the last year of his contract with his future in doubt.

"My agent spoke to Villa early in December but we have had no response from them.I'm still only 22 and I find it strange that Villa are leaving trying to tie up a contract so late," Barry said. The same thing happened with my last contract. That went on for five or six months and, if the same happens this time, I will be into the final 12 months.

"For any player, that can be an uncomfortable time and can affect form. Hopefully the club will let me know what the situation is - whether the news is positive or otherwise."

Barryadded: "I am happy here, the manager [David O'Leary] has revitalised me and a lot of the players, and the club is on the up. I remain positive and am sure there is not a problem. The same happened with Darius Vassell. It took a long time to sort out a contract, and he signed. Hopefully I can do the same."

Barry has been in outstanding form since he switched back to a left-sided midfield role after a spell in the centre. It was his telling cross that set up the opening goal for Juan Pablo Angel in Tuesday's 2-1 win over Portsmouth, which lifted Villa into the Premiership top six.

That completed a remarkable turn-around in fortunes as only 24 days ago Villa met Wolves with both sides in the bottom three.

Barry said: "The change-round shows the character in the dressing-room. It is a young team, a close bunch of lads, and we all pull for each other. When we conceded the equaliser against Portsmouth we bounced back again even though a lot of the lads were tired after playing Manchester United only 48 hours earlier ."

Posmouth'a manager, Harry Redknapp, hinted that their on-loan West Bromwich striker, Jason Roberts, may have played his last game for the club. He said: "He played well on Tuesday but whether he will be here on Saturday, I don't know. Someone has told me a club have made a bid for him. If we lose him we are in trouble.

"People go on about us not scoring goals but if I had £9 million to spend on Juan Pablo Angel or £5m on Peter Crouch, who was on the Villa bench, then we might get more goals. Unfortunately, I haven't got that."