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."

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