O'Neill plots route to Europe as Villa get ready for early start

Martin O'Neill is busy finalising Aston Villa's pre-season plans - with the  emphasis on a thorough build-up to his InterToto Cup tie.

The Irishman is concentrating on packing some high-quality early games into his  schedule as Villa are in action on July 19 against European opposition.

Villa will play either Finland's Turku, Denmark's Odense or Northern Ireland's Lisburn Distillery in order to progress to the first round proper of the UEFA  Cup.

Martin O'Neill

Busy summer ahead: Martin O'Neill

Even though they have a fixture against newly-relegated Reading on August 2,  O'Neill wants to ensure his team is ready for the off before they start  planning in earnest for the next Barclays Premier League season.

The majority of his first-team squad - those not involved in Euro 2008 duty -  will return at the start of July in readiness for their first competitive  fixture.

O'Neill said on Villa's website: "We need a few matches before the InterToto  Cup.

"I would have preferred a more leisurely build-up but that's not to be on. We  just have to get on with it."



No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now