Despite his row with Liverpool over their pursuit of Gareth Barry, Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill is planning for life without his club captain.

The Sun says O'Neill desperately needs to strengthen his squad after losing Olof Mellberg, Thomas Sorensen, Scott Carson and Patrik Berger in the summer.

Doubts also surround Shaun Maloney's Villa future while Curtis Davies and Stephen O'Halloran are still recovering from long-term injuries.

But O'Neill said: "Although the players did fantastically last season we had the smallest squad in the Premier League, and we wouldn't want that to be the case this season, so we are going to address it.

"If Gareth Barry had decided to stay we were still going to address it. Now it's even more important than ever we do it. It's all systems go."

Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell, 25, is expected to be one of the first arrivals while O'Neill is ready to bid £15m for Blackburn's David Bentley, 23.

Milner, 22, Anton Ferdinand, 23, Aaron Lennon, 21, and keeper Brad Guzan, 23, are also on his radar.

O'Neill also hit back at Barry's criticism he had been more interested in Euro punditry than Villa.

He said: "It was a case of working there for two or three days then coming back and working here."