Houllier denies Carew dispute
Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov urged Houllier and Carew to resolve any differences in the aftermath of the mid-week home defeat by Sunderland. Emile Heskey's red card against the Black Cats leaves Houllier with Gabriel Agbonlahor as the only senior striker available for Saturday's FA Cup clash at Sheffield United. Carew - a target for West Brom - could be back for the derby clash with Birmingham at St Andrew's in nine days time if he has regained sufficient sharpness. But Houllier is adamant there are no bridges to be built with the Norway international, who has been Villa's leading scorer for the past three seasons. Houllier said: "Myself and John spoke before the Manchester City game. He didn't feel up to playing. "He had missed training for various reasons and needed to work on his fitness which he is doing now. "I will be delighted to have him in the squad and to play. "Am I happy with his attitude? John is grown-up. If he feels he is not fit enough for the game, I take that on board. "We know John. He can be outstanding. He is a very likeable person. There is no fall-out between John and myself. "I am sure he has been working on his fitness and doing well. "I don't think he will be involved in the FA Cup game but at some stage after that. "I trust him to be back as soon as he is ready. We need him anyway." Houllier again reiterated that he retains the support of Villa owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner. He has been bracketed with Roy Hodgson, Carlo Ancelotti and Avram Grant as being the four leading contenders for the sack. He said: "Am I worried about losing my job? I belong to this exclusive private club of four people under great pressure. "But you lose a game and it's a crisis. You win a game and you are hero. "It's a long-term job. I have got the backing of the people at the club which is very important, and we are here for better or worse. "We are going through a tough period. I am aware of that. It is difficult at times but all I can tell you is together we are working hard to get back on track. "The pressure doesn't hold me back from working. You try to keep even more focused. "I understand the fans are hurt as well as I am. All I can tell you everyone is working for the cause." Houllier is hoping the cup meeting with the Blades will act as a confidence booster for Villa. He said: "It is not a distraction. I think Sheffield will raise their game, we know that, and it is a good side, a good championship side, but we will be up for it. "The cup can bring some confidence and morale to the team as the Chelsea game did last weekend. "There may be one or two players that are rested because we've had a heavy period over Christmas. But there won't be many changes."