It was tough, says Villa's Sidwell, but I'm ready for my season now

The Aston Villa midfielder Steve Sidwell has started on the comeback trail after missing the opening five games of the campaign.

The former Chelsea player, who suffered an Achilles injury during a pre-season game against Valencia, played the full 90 minutes for Villa's reserves in the 4-0 home win over Blackpool on Monday.

Sidwell, who was made available for transfer in the summer by the club's former manager Martin O'Neill, was ruled out of the Premier League games with West Ham, Newcastle and Everton plus the two Europa League meetings with Rapid Vienna by the injury.

He looked set to join Fulham before Roy Hodgson quit for Liverpool and was also linked with a move to West Bromwich Albion before the transfer window closed last week.

Sidwell cost Villa £5m when moving from Stamford Bridge two years ago but has struggled to command a regular first-team place. "It has been a frustrating few weeks. The first game back is the hardest but games are what you need," he said yesterday. "I am the world's worst at watching games. You just want to be out there."

Sheffield United are hoping to reach an agreement with Hull over the loan signing of the Hungarian winger Peter Halmosi this week. The Blades manager Gary Speed has made no secret of his desire to draft in a wide midfielder when the loan transfer window opens, and Halmosi is one of several players Hull want to off-load to reduce their wage bill. But any possible loan reportedly depends on Hull reaching a financial agreement with Halmosi, who is understood to earn £15,000 per week following his £2m move from Plymouth in July 2008.

Bradford City joint chairman Mark Lawn and the club manager Peter Taylor have both vehemently denied the latter threatened to quit following a row. The Bantams have lost four of their opening five League Two games, but Taylor insists he is committed to turning the club's fortunes around.

He told Bradford's official website: "Apparently it was suggested I've had a fall-out with Mark Lawn and basically told him to pay me up and I'll go. That's a load of old rubbish."

Cheltenham have extended the forward Shaun Jeffers' loan spell from Coventry until 1 January. The teenager, who made his England Under-19 debut last week, has scored two goals in six appearances for the League Two club during his initial month-long stay at Whaddon Road.

Hartlepool's caretaker manager Mick Wadsworth's plans have been hit by a training injury to Andy Rafferty that has put the goalkeeper out of action for a minimum of three months. An X-ray revealed the 22-year-old has two broken bones in his finger.

Stockport have appointed Ken Graham and Mike Clark to their board of directors and announced the departure of the club's chief executive Sean Connolly with immediate effect. The two new directors have both been involved at Edgeley Park since 2001 while Connolly has quit following the club's takeover in the summer.

Accrington's Ray Putterill has been charged by the Football Association after playing for the club while under a county FA suspension. The midfielder appeared for Stanley, also charged by the FA, in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy match against Tranmere on 31 August, the day after his 42-day suspension should have started.

Liverpool County FA handed Putterill the ban, which was effective from the 30 August, for "improper or insulting behaviour towards a match referee" during a game in April 2010 whilst playing for Halewood Town.

Accrington and Putterill have until 13 September to respond to the charge which will be handled by the Football League. Stanley chief executive Robert Heys said: "We are in receipt of the letter informing us of the charge and will respond when we have investigated the facts. There are currently a number of questions regarding the case that we need answered."

Celtic striker Gary Hooper is targeting Saturday's visit of Hearts as his comeback from a calf injury. The 22-year-old has yet to make his Scottish Premier League debut after tearing a calf following a collision in a pre-season friendly against Blackburn.

The summer signing from Scunthorpe has stepped up his rehabilitation this week and hopes to feature at the weekend.

Hooper, who scored against Braga on his competitive debut,said: "I'm hoping to be ready for the Hearts game. I have been in every day except Sundays getting a massage and getting the legs going. I have now done some running and strength work and ball work outside. The international break has done me a favour because I don't miss another game. I will hopefully be involved in the Hearts game."

general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before