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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests