Midlands latest: Villa ace wants striking role; Stoke midfielder set to stay

We bring you the latest news from Aston Villa, Leicester City, Stoke City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Derby County.

1) Andreas Weimann wants striking role

Aston Villa man Andreas Weimann says that he wants a striking role for the club this season.

The Austrian spent most of last campaign playing out on a wing, but he revealed he would like to be given an opportunity to lead the line this year.

He said: “I would like to play upfront a few games a season, maybe a bit more than I did last season, and score a few more goals hopefully."

The 23-year-old managed to score five times in the Premier League last season.

2) Nigel Pearson convinced Leicester are good enough

Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson believes that the Foxes are good enough to make an impression on the Premier League.

The side, who were promoted as league winners from the Championship last season, head into the campaign as one of the favourites for relegation, but Pearson believes that they have the ability within their squad to surprise people.

"We have quality in the squad which I am convinced can have a big impact on this division,” he said.

“Last year we were the best side in the Championship. The statistics vouch for that.

"During the course of the season we were the most consistent side as well, but we have to understand that this season we are not going to be the best team in the division.

"But we can still be competitive and, to do that, we need to adopt the same collective mentality we have tried to instil in the group over a period of time.

3) Steven Nzonzi set to stay at Stoke

Mark Hughes says that Steven Nzonzi is fully focused on Stoke City, despite handing in a transfer request at the start of the summer.

The powerful central-midfielder has been linked with a move away from the club to join Crystal Palace during this transfer window, but Hughes insists that he will stay at the Britannia and that he is looking forward to the season ahead.

"What happened, happened,” Hughes said. “There is nothing untoward, it's over now. We move on and focus on the business of winning games for Stoke."

"Steven's had a great pre-season - he's looked really sharp and looks in a good place. He's enjoying his football at the moment and we're enjoying what he's producing.

"He's like the rest of us, he wants the real stuff to start now.”

4) Dave Edwards: back the boss’s transfer policy

Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Dave Edwards insists that fans of the club should back Kenny Jackett’s transfer policy.

Wolves have made just two additions, both on free transfers this summer, and there are concerns that their lack of spending could harm their chances this campaign.

However, Edwards, who scored the winner in Wolves’ first game back at Championship level at the weekend, says that Jackett knows exactly what he is doing and that supporters shouldn’t be worried.

“The manager knows what he’s doing in the transfer window so the fans shouldn’t be worried,” he said.

"Fans shouldn’t be concerned because I’m sure if the gaffer really wanted somebody, I’m sure the chairman would back him because he hasn’t made a bad signing yet.”

Wolves could make their third signing of the summer soon, as they are keen on Max Clayton – who has enjoyed a successful trial at the club.

5) Derby must be more ruthless, says McClaren

Steve McClaren has insisted that his Derby County side need to become more ruthless in-front of goal if they are to be a success this season.

The Rams have won their opening two fixtures of the campaign, but McClaren is demanding that they find their finishing touch in matches to kill them off earlier.

"We will get better and the rustiness around goal is something we need to improve on," he said.

"We have had the same scenario in both games when we've gone into the last few minutes 1-0 up – that shouldn't have been the case – but we got through it thanks to our back four and Lee Grant, who made some good saves."

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