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Villa squad to be stretched to limit next week

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill will need his entire first-team squad for a crucial run of three games in six days. Villa begin their schedule with an FA Cup tie at Everton on Sunday, then entertain CSKA Moscow in the first leg of a UEFA Cup clash on Wednesday before playing host to Chelsea on Saturday lunchtime.

O'Neill said: "The FA Cup game would be important for us and it is first up in a difficult week for us. We have three games in six days and it is a tough task for us.

"It is a period when the whole squad will come into the equation. They are going to have to be involved.

"You know my view on the FA Cup. I love it, the competition is fantastic and we have managed for the first time in a year or two to get past the third and fourth rounds which has been great.

"The record of this club should be better in the competition but the Premier League is the Holy Grail and that is where we have got momentum going and that would be pretty important to us.

"Will that influence selection for next two games? I'll have a think about it."

O'Neill added: "We have got to try to keep going. It was always going to be a problem in terms of the size of the squad.

"However, in really big games, it gives an opportunity for players to step up to the plate and that is all I can ask.

"Here we are, in mid-February, in three competitions. In a fortnight we might just be in one. That is something I have been used to as a player in the past.

"I am not so sure about this period shaping the season. The momentum in the Premier League is very important and we want to try to keep it going."

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