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McAllister signals Dunne reprieve

Richard Dunne could yet have a future at Villa Park. The unsettled Irish international was initially expected to be on the move in this transfer window but he was restored to the Aston Villa team at the weekend and came in for glowing praise yesterday from an unlikely source -- manager Gerard Houllier's assistant, Gary McAllister.

Dunne and McAllister had a training ground spat, which is understood to have been responsible for the Tallaght native suffering the ignominy of being consigned to the stands for successive weeks.

Now, the Scot has claimed that it's all water under the bridge.

"I don't have a problem with Dunny," said McAllister. "It is something that happens in every training ground, every day of the week.

"I've had it my entire life as a footballer and as a young manager and now as an assistant manager. I'm not going to start talking about things that happen in the workplace.

"But Richard Dunne and I are perfectly fine. He has done exactly what we thought he would do. He was left out of the team, we were conceding goals and we had to make changes. He has done what every top professional would do. He has responded.

"He came back into the team and he is a big player for this club and he will continue to be a big player."

Irish Independent