Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill is ready for talks today with Reading fullback Nicky Shorey and Middlesbrough's Luke Young.

O'Neill told avfc.co.uk: "Strengthening the squad has obviously been in our minds for quite some considerable time.

"We have agreed a fee with Reading for Nicky Shorey -a quality natural left-back who played for England 18 months ago. As we speak he will be coming up for a medical and hopefully we can agree terms.

"The right-back position caused a few problems for us last season in terms of us not having a natural right-back. Now we've also agreed a fee with Middlesbrough for Luke Young. So hopefully there won't be any major problems and those two deals can go through."

The Villa boss added: "Luke is a natural right-back and played for England not so long ago. He did very well for Boro last season and this is a great opportunity for him.

"Obviously the injury to Freddie has left a gaping hole on the left. Freddie had a wonderful season for us last year and this wasn't necessarily a priority for us before the injury.

"But Nicky Shorey is more than a back-up. He's a quality player on the ball and is up for the challenge."

O'Neill's efforts to bolster the squad for the season ahead will continue and he concluded: "Between now and August 31 we need a squad capable of handling all the games ahead."