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Bannan's backing escape act from Villa

BARRY BANNAN has vowed to prove wrong those who have tipped Aston Villa for relegation this season.

Villa are in the bottom three of the Premier League ahead of tonight's home clash with fellow strugglers Reading.

But midfielder Bannan believes Villa have enough quality to move out of trouble and has been encouraged by their performances in the previous two home games with Manchester United and Arsenal.

With a visit to another struggling side, QPR, to come on Saturday, this could be a crucial period for Villa.

Bannan said: "It hurts when people tip the club to struggle this season. But it's up to us to prove them wrong - and that's what we will do.

"In that changing room we've got quality. We're a bit young but I think we are confident in our own ability.

"We acquitted ourselves well against Manchester United and Arsenal but I think our season starts now.


"We all know in the changing room that they are winnable games."

However, Bannan is taking nothing for granted against the Royals.

He said: "I've not seen much of Reading. I've seen a couple of games they've had on television. But it's one of the best leagues in the world.

"You are not just going to turn up tonight and turn teams over because they've just been promoted.

"They are going to be battling for their lives and we will show them the same respect as Arsenal at the weekend."

Bannan has been impressed with the performances of Christian Benteke who has replaced Darren Bent as Villa's main striker.

Bannan said: "I think so far this season Christian has been brilliant. Against Arsenal he worked hard and put their defenders under pressure."

Villa skipper Ron Vlaar is a doubt after the central defender suffered a calf injury against Arsenal.