Gregory resigned to Villa's policy of prudence

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The Independent Football

John Gregory again spoke of the difficulties he faces in elevating Aston Villa to the Premiership's élite after seeing Juan Pablo Angel score both goals in his side's 2-1 win over Ipswich on Monday night.

Gregory has had it spelt out to him by the Villa chairman, Doug Ellis, and the board of directors that no money is available to strengthen his squad unless he off-loads from his current squad.

"I would love to think of the title but I have to face facts," Gregory said. "I'm not being negative but I know full well that we haven't got the quality of depth that other clubs possess.

"My hopes for the championship might change if I was maybe able to bolster the squad with more players. But I have to adhere to the way the club is run and I have to get on and make the best of what I have got.

"I am asked if I would sell Angel. He is an absolute legend here and the fans adore him. If I was to sell him, I'd probably get lynched in the Doug Ellis Stand!"

Gregory's hand will be strengthened by the return to full training of the midfielder Hassan Kachloul. The Moroccan international was detained in hospital after suffering concussion three weeks ago. An initial brain scan revealed a burst blood vessel in the brain, but now Kachloul has been given a clean bill of health and will be in contention for Saturday's Midlands derby with Derby County at Pride Park.

Ipswich will now have to break a long-standing trend if they are to survive. No club since the formation of the Premiership has managed to avoid being relegated after languishing at the bottom of the pile at Christmas.

But the Ipswich manager, George Burley, saw plenty of positives from his side's showing and he said: "We were the better team in the first half and we closed Villa down very quickly. We got a goal through Finidi George but then they equalised when we should have cleared our lines and their second goal got a wicked deflection.

"We deserved at least a point and I can take a lot of positives from our performance, but sometimes when down the bottom you don't get the breaks. There is still a lot of spirit and we can get out of this position."

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