McLeish: Villa are in transition

The Scot’s comments come after chief executive Paul Faulkner said

he was setting his sights on securing European football. McLeish

has had no discussions with Faulkner or club owner Randy Lerner

about whether money will be available for new players in January,

and is aware that Villa’s wage bill has to be reduced further. But

the Scot will do everything possible to keep Villa at the top end

of the Premier League, even though he feels Faulkner’s European

hopes do not necessarily relate to the current campaign. McLeish

said: “We’re in eighth position so the European positions are not

too far away. But I think Paul means ultimately (in the future)

when he says that. “Of course I don’t wake up any morning thinking

‘My team are going to be beat.’ I’m always very positive about the

outcome and looking to finish as high as we can up the table. “But

we aren’t as strong in terms of experienced players as we were last

season so, as I keep saying, we are going through a transitional

period at the club. “I know every single Villa fan expects us to be

fighting for Europe every year of Villa’s existence and I accept

those expectation levels. “Villa fans would be of that mindset

because of the history and the heritage so I’ll just keep fighting.

“I’m a rottweiler, I don’t give up easily and I’ll try and keep the

club in a very good stable position and try and get as high up the

table as we can with the resources that we’ve got.” Asked about his

January transfer plans, McLeish said: “At the moment we’ve not had

that discussion about whether we will be in the market to bring new

players in. “Randy (Lerner) and the board want to drive the wages

down, in terms of the Financial Fair Play (rules), but also in the

way that the club is run and not to be doing a Leeds United.

“That’s the state of affairs at the moment. It depends where we’re

at. If we’re in a really healthy position. we’ll probably not look

to do anything. “I wouldn’t have thought we would, but we haven’t

had a meeting to say that there’s no funds available.” McLeish

added: “The club has got to run within its means. I’ve not actually

asked for any funds as yet and we’ve still to see Jermaine Jenas

playing in the team as well.” McLeish confirmed midfielder Barry

Bannan will be available for Sunday’s clash at Swansea after his

18-month driving ban. Bannan pleaded guilty to drink-driving and

three other motoring offences at Nottingham Magistrates Court and

was also fined £4,500 in addition to being disciplined by the

club. McLeish is hoping Bannan will learn a harsh lesson from his

misdemeanours. He said: “Barry’s head is in a very good place just

now because he is a lucky man. “He has now got to get on with his

life and that’s playing football and playing well. “It is a big

lesson for him and all of the other young players, every player at

the club. He has been given a chance again. “It is a dangerous

thing he has done. He has got his health and hopefully he will stop

drinking and never takes a drink again because he will be a better

athlete for it as well.”