sport

Vlaar returns in Villa draw

Aston Villa played out a goalless draw with Italian side Parma in their final friendly before the new season.

Darren Bent, who spent last season on-loan at eventually-relegated Fulham, came on as a second-half substitute and went closest for Paul Lambert's side when he whacked a shot against the bar.

In a game of few highlights, Villa skipper Ron Vlaar returned to the side following his exploits with Netherlands at the World Cup and subsequent extended break.

His appearance will hand the club a boost ahead of their opening Premier League game against Midlands rivals Stoke next week, but his future at the club remains in doubt amid interest from a host of clubs across Europe.

Raffaele Palladino tested Brad Guzan, who was the only Villa player to complete 90 minutes in the game, with an early effort easily saved.

But Andi Weimann almost opened the scoring for the hosts shortly after with a powerful effort from distance tipped over by Parma keeper Antonio Mirante.

New signings from Fulham, Philippe Senderos and Kieran Richardson, also went close before half-time while Palladino had another shot at the other end.

Subs Fabian Delph and Gabriel Agbonlahor had the best chances in the second half for Villa apart from that of Bent, whose future at Villa Park is also uncertain given he has been unwanted by Villa boss Lambert for over a year.