Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill is hoping to agree new contracts with defender Olof Mellberg and striker Luke Moore sooner rather than later.

O’Neill is already planning talks with Danish centre-back Martin Laursen who is in the final year of his current four-year contract.

And he hopes to successfully conclude negotiations with former skipper Mellberg and Moore when they return from international duty next week with Sweden and England Under-21s respectively.

O’Neill said: "I would hope to get Luke and Olof sorted out soon. I will be making big inroads now over the next fortnight to get that sorted out. We did say we would just leave it in abeyance until after the transfer window."

Central defender Mellberg has been a rock-solid performer for Villa during the past six years and is currently operating as a makeshift right-back. And O’Neill has high hopes of Moore making a big impact now he has put a long-term shoulder problem behind him after undergoing surgery last season.

He said: "Luke is doing great. He can get better but he’s working as hard as anyone has ever seen him working. He was great against Chelsea and I was really pleased with him.

"Luke knows if he puts the work in, he has the ability to be anything because he’s got really great natural, priceless talent which has pushed him into this position in the game. But you wouldn’t want to see that wasted. I’ve seen it thousands of times in the game. I’ve seen players who think natural talent alone will carry them through, but it just doesn’t happen.

"Sometimes players realise that a bit too late. He’s got the ability - he can conjure a goal when things aren’t going well, which is a fantastic attribute to have.

"But he’s got to work at it because hard work is an essential part of the game. His overall play at times has been excellent."