Aston Villa edged closer to Barclays Premier League safety as they denied former manager Martin O'Neill a winning return in a goalless draw against Sunderland.

O'Neill was greeted with boos from Villa fans despite four years of success, including three top six finishes, with the midlands club,

Alex McLeish's side deserved their 15th draw of the campaign and former Villa midfielder Craig Gardner was sent off in injury time for his second bookable offence.

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