Martin O'Neill claims Aston Villa's attempts to ease a crowded fixture list by re-arranging games for next month rather than in March have been blocked by the Premier League.

Villa have a demanding schedule this month, the result of a fixture backlog caused by their lengthy involvement in the Carling Cup and ongoing participation in the FA Cup.

O'Neill was hoping the Premier League would look kindly on their request to space out fixtures but has revealed their request has received an unsympathetic response.

He said: "We have got no midweek games in April at the moment but something like 7,000 in March as things stand!

"Because we have played as many games as anyone else as a Premier League in the last two months, with replays and League Cup semi-finals, we asked the Premier League for a bit of help.

"We asked if we could stretch things out a little for when the weather gets a bit better and we could play some re-arranged games in April.

"With the worse scenario, even if we got through the Reading tie after a replay and had to change the date of the Everton league game, there was still time in April to fit things in.

"But the Premier League want to get the fixtures in during March so we've got plenty of time to repent during April. There is no leeway for us at all."