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Aston Villa rival Sunderland for Middlesbrough's Downing

Aston Villa will rival Sunderland for injured Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing.

The Sunday Sun says Gareth Barry's sale to Manchester City, and Randy Lerner's millions, has also paved the way for Villa to make a move for Downing, but armed with around £50m of Ellis Short's cash, Steve Bruce could join the race for the winger.

Downing enjoyed a six-week loan spell at the Stadium of Light in 2003, when he scored three goals in seven games, and would favour staying in the North East.

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