Houllier: Villa are united

Gerard Houllier insists Aston Villa are united for the relegation fight as he prepares to recall James Collins and Richard Dunne at Everton.

Collins and Dunne were fined two weeks wages for their behaviour towards members of the coaching staff during a team bonding session at a health spa three weeks ago.

But Houllier says the matter has been consigned to history and is poised to bring the experienced duo back into the side now they are recovered from shoulder and calf injuries respectively.

Dunne and Collins proved their fitness when on international duty for the Republic of Ireland and Wales.

Houllier said: "The only thing I can say is that the events (involving Dunne and Collins) are finished. It has been dealt with, it is gone and over.

"The players expressed their will to the club and to myself that they want to give their best for their fans and the club. It is good.

"They were unfortunately both injured for the last game against Wolves but they are available after playing for Ireland and Wales.

"If they are fit, they will play. It is as simple as that because they are personality players and they have the club at heart. They have also strong experience."

Houllier came in for criticism from fans during and after the 1-0 defeat to Wolves and a banner paraded on the Holte End before the game called for him to leave Villa.

But the Frenchman wants everyone to be united for the eight games which will decide Villa’s fate.

He said: "Everyone is entitled to think what they want but I took the job because it was a challenge.

"The challenge is bigger now because of what happened but sometimes you battle to get in Europe or a cup.

"Here we are battling adversity together. Together, that means the team, the staff, management, the owner, chief executive, the fans, everybody."

Houllier added: "The fans play an important part. When the fans show the banner, you are not very happy about that.

"But I came here because I’ve got pride in being at this club. I said that straightaway and that hasn’t changed.

"I’ve got pleasure in what I’m doing. It’s not because things are not particularly easy.

"Sometimes you go through hard times at this job.

"Also I’ve got a challenge, and the challenge is eight games and, also, the unity is there."