Davies eager for Baggies start
Curtis Davies wants his Aston Villa shirt back so he can face former club West Brom on Sunday.
By Ashley Marshall
Last Updated: 20/09/08 12:46pm
Defender Curtis Davies is eager to regain his place at the heart of the Aston Villa defence when he travels to face former club West Brom in Sunday's Premier League derby at The Hawthorns.
The former England Under 21 international missed Thursday's Uefa Cup win over Litex Lovech with a knee niggle, but he says he is match fit and ready to stake his claim as a first-team regular.
Although Villa now have four centre-backs in their squad, Davies, who completed his permanent move from The Hawthorns in the summer, is thriving on the chance to receive a hot reception from West Brom supporters.
Manager Martin O'Neill handed a debut to Spanish defender Carlos Cuellar against Litex in midweek, but Davies insists the knee is fine.
Davies said: "I was told I was rested not dropped, so at the moment I feel the shirt is mine.
"The competition is there and I have to be aware of it but I am hoping to be playing on Sunday.
"Mentally, if you overcome the pressure, it can help you improve.
"But if you are a good player and really want to reach the top levels you will be performing week in, week out anyway no matter who is behind you."
O'Neill, meanwhile, hopes Davies' knee settles sufficiently to allow him to build on an impressive outing in the 2-1 win at White Hart Lane.
"I thought Curtis Davies' performance against Tottenham may well have been his best for us," O'Neill said.
"Curtis' attitude is good, he is one that wants to learn, to improve his game.
"Essentially his defending was brilliant against Tottenham when called upon to do it."
Davies made 65 appearances for the Baggies between 2005 and 2007, before making a dozen starts on loan at Villa Park last season ahead of his permanent move in July.