Football: Goal Drought Threatens Villa's Top-Level Future

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Byline: Hyder Jawad

David O'Leary is not shocked by the failure of Aston Villa to score goals on a consistent level but he is annoyed and concerned. With 11 goals in 15 Premiership matches this season, the Villa manager can hardly complain about poor results or a place in the bottom three.

Against Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow (noon), Villa play a team with an equally poor record in front of goal and, consequently, there are many reasons to suggest that the match will end goalless.

Darius Vassell, the England international striker, has failed to score in the Premiership this season, Marcus Allback of Sweden has scored once, while Juan Pablo Angel of Colombia has scored four.

This has not been a good start for the Villa strikers, yet all seem to do better for their international teams. By that rationale, playing for their club should provide few problems, yet none of this trio has flourished for Villa this season.

O'Leary would probably like to sign a new striker, if only to increase competition for places, yet he admits that he might have to stick with what he has and hope that the strikers will produce the goods.

'It does not shock me [that the international strikers have scored so few goals for Villa] because I have seen it there,' O'Leary said. 'I saw it all through last season and the season before that. Yes, they score at international level but the facts are there at club level. So, no, it has not come as a shock.'

With Peter Crouch returning from a loan spell with Norwich City, O'Leary does at least have an extra option. However, there is always the chance that the Villa manager might be awarded a budget when the transfer window opens on January 1.

'It would be nice to freshen things up in January but we have got to get on with things,' O'Leary said. 'If we do anything in January, it will be a bonus. I started the season thinking that this squad would take me to the end of the season. That is life and you have got to get on with it.

'It is hard in any case to bring people in next month. Business is done in the summer and there is no point in me getting people in for the sake of it.

'If we can, it will be great because it will give us a bigger squad and improve us on the pitch but I do not think there will be a great deal of funds in January. I am not making an issue of that. It is a fact of life.

'We also do not want to get players on loan with no desire. …