Jores Okore happy to see Aston Villa teammate Mark Bunn get Premier League chance

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The ex-Norwich City goalkeeper made his fist Premier League appearance since May 2013 in Tuesday night's 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace as Brad Guzan was left on the bench.

Aston Villa centre-back Jores Okore has told AVTV of his delight at seeing Mark Bunn get a rare chance to impress in the Premier League.

The 31-year-old goalkeeper made his first top-flight appearance since May 2013 in Tuesday night’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, having kept his place in the side over the under-fire Brad Guzan after a solid showing in the 1-1 FA Cup third round draw at Wycombe Wanderers.

Much like Saturday’s match, the former Norwich City man was not kept hugely busy over the course of the 90 minutes, as he was forced into just one simple save, but he did do a good job with his distribution and looked assured on crosses – both areas where Guzan has struggled this season.

He also impressed Okore and the other Villa defenders with his organisational skills and command of his area, and the Denmark international believes that the clean sheet was a just reward for his efforts.

“It’s always nice to have a clean sheet for me, the team, the defence and especially Bunny,” Okore told AVTV. “It was his first start in the Premier League for a long time so it was really nice for him. I’m happy for him that he got a clean sheet.

“I think everybody showed today that they want to stay in the team and perform so I hope we can all keep up these performances and get some more wins.”

Bunn originally joined Villa on a two-year deal in July after being released by Norwich, having spent the previous three seasons as the Canaries’ No. 2 keeper behind John Ruddy.

The former Tottenham Hotspur trainee was expected to fill the same role with the claret and blues in the wake of Shay Given’s departure for Stoke City, but Guzan’s continuing struggles have instead led to increasing calls from fans for him to he handed an extended run in the side.

He now looks set to earn a second consecutive start for the visit of highly-flying Leicester City on Saturday evening thanks to Tuesday’s solid display, but whether manager Remi Garde sees him as a possible long-term option between the posts obviously remains to be seen.

Recent reports have suggested that the club are on the hunt for a new No. 1 this month, with Marseille’s Steve Mandanda and Hajduk Split’s Lovre Kalinic both named as potential targets [h/t Daily Mail], while 23-year-old Jed Steer is currently impressing out on loan at Huddersfield Town after signing a new deal until 2019 in October.

Nevertheless, Bunn does have some previous top-flight experience, when he made 23 starts for Norwich during the 2012-13 season in place of the injured Ruddy, and Villa could certainly do a lot worse if he is ultimately called on to start for the rest of the campaign.

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