Premier League priority for O'Neill

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Football News

Martin O'Neill saw Aston Villa reach the fifth round of the FA Cup for only the second time in nine years but then admitted the Barclays Premier League is the "Holy Grail".

Villa made sure of a last-16 meeting trip to Everton courtesy of a 3-1 replay win over Doncaster thanks to goals from Steve Sidwell, John Carew and Nathan Delfouneso, but O'Neill had spelt out where his priorities lie by making seven changes from the line-up which shared a goalless draw with Wigan in the weekend league encounter.

O'Neill said: "I love the FA Cup, it's really great and I'm delighted to be in the fifth round and we will go up to Everton as strongly as we can. But if the Premier League is the Holy Grail then I suppose we've got to be chasing that and that's where we are probably looking."

The likes of Gareth Barry, Gabriel Agbonlahor, James Milner and Brad Friedel were rested ahead of Saturday's trip to Blackburn as Villa look to cement their top-four place.

He added: "I made some changes in the team and it is really important for us to see what we are capable of doing and we managed it.

"We can't afford to carry anyone in the team. We just haven't got that ability to carry people so everyone really has to step up.

"We need everybody. We have got a bit of momentum going. We have got to try and keep it going."

A big plus for O'Neill was striker Carew completing his first 90 minutes for three months after a back problem.

He said: "The fact John got through a full game is good news for all of us, although he is still, as he says himself, pretty well short.

"He is back earlier than I anticipated which is good again. I was surprised John saw the game through but I am really pleased he has done that because he needed it."

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Doncaster Rovers
Gabriel Agbonlahor
Blackburn Rovers
James Milner
John Carew
Gareth Barry
Premier League
Brad Friedel
Wigan Athletic
Aston Villa
Steve Sidwell
FA Cup

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