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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor