Martin O'Neill has hailed the staying power of defender Martin Laursen, who started every single league game for Aston Villa last season, but the Villa boss is determined to add more cover to ease the burden on some of his first team stars.
The Danish star has suffered a torrid time through injury since signing for Villa from AC Milan for £3 million in 2004. He made a few encouraging performances on and off, during the 2004-05 season, but the knee injury that has plagued him earlier in his career returned and kept Laursen from play-ing a single match for Villa during the 2005-06 season.
After a re-occurrence of the knee injury during the summer 2006, his playing future at club and international level was seen to be in doubt. He underwent a full rehabilitation in Bologna, where he spent most of the 2005-06 season, and returned to Aston Villa in August 2006.
However, last season he dismissed any doubts about his future and was an ever-present in the Barclays Premier League, contributing six valuable goals from centre back as well.
The 30-year-old, who agreed terms on a new two-and-a-half year deal with Villa in January, capped a tremendous season by being voted the Supporters' Player of the Year.
O'Neill was glowing in praise for Laursen but said he was determined to add quality in depth to his squad to relieve some of the pressure on his players.
Last season O'Neill used just 21 players in the league with nine of them making 32 appearances or more, and admitted he would like the option of rotating his squad. With Villa's inclusion in the Intertoto Cup next season meaning an early start to the campaign, the burden on his players will be even greater.
"At the start of the season I don't think many people would have put money on Martin starting every single league game - least of all Martin," O'Neill said.
"It's been a great effort and I'm delighted for Martin. Well done to him. For him to have played the number of games he has this season has been terrific but it would have been nice to have had the option to rest him.
"The same goes for some of the younger boys who have played a lot of games, it would have been nice to say 'you're sub today' or 'you're not in the 16 - or 18 as it will be next year' just to rest them. But we haven't had the wherewithal.
"That's something we know we've got to address over the summer and while talking about it is the easy part, we know what we need to do to push on."
O'Neill's public statement of intent in the transfer market has led to Villa being linked to nearly 70 different players as the rumour mill continues to turn.
The Villa boss has announced he is keen to sign two goalkeepers and is still trying to talk Liverpool into a realistic price for Scott Carson, who was O'Neill's No 1 last season.
Hull City keeper Boaz Myhill is the latest custodian said to be attracting attention from Villa, who have also been linked with Real Valladolid goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo.
Another player rumoured to be heading to Villa is a fellow countryman of Laursen, talented Danish Under-21 international left-back Michael Lumb from AGF Aarhus, and Reading's Nicky Shorey is another left back interesting O'Neill, according to reports, especially since Steve Sidwell is said to be close to completing a £4.5 million move from Chelsea.
However, O'Neill will not be able to completely focus on new signings and is still trying to persuade captain Gareth Barry that he can achieve everything he wants at Villa Park, with Liverpool waiting in the wings.
Villa have already rejected Liverpool's £10 million bid.