The Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has hailed the impact Richard Dunne has made at Villa Park ahead of today's clash against West Ham. O'Neill pulled off one of the transfer coups of the season after he raided Manchester City during last summer's transfer window to snap up the Republic of Ireland central defender. Dunne has already become a popular figure among the Villa fans and has helped the team reach the Carling Cup semi-finals and push for a place in next season's Champions League. His form has also helped to bring the best out of his fellow defenders James Collins and Carlos Cuellar. Praising Dunne's performances, O'Neill said: "Dunne's contribution to the football club has been immense and consequently his help to the other players has been terrific. "I think of one header in particular from a corner kick in Thursday's game at Blackburn. He headed from right under the bar with Chris Samba in close attendance. "He got up above Samba, who is six inches bigger than him, to head the ball. "It was magnificent and it epitomised his performances since he has arrived at Aston Villa." Aston Villa v West Ham, KO 5.30pm, Showsports 1 & 2
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