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Friday 20 July 2018

Aston Villa will ignore Norwich result even if it relegates them - Eric Black

Eric Black, pictured, took caretaker charge of Aston Villa when Remi Garde left the club last month
Eric Black, pictured, took caretaker charge of Aston Villa when Remi Garde left the club last month

Caretaker boss Eric Black insists Aston Villa will ignore events at Norwich - even though the Canaries could send them down.

Villa will be relegated from the Barclays Premier League before they start at Manchester United if Norwich avoid defeat to Sunderland in Saturday's early game.

Even if the Canaries lose, Villa must win at Old Trafford to delay the drop as they are rock bottom and 15 points from safety with five games left.

Saturday is likely to see their ever-present stay in the Premier League end as Villa tumble into the second tier for the first time since 1987.

But Black - who has axed Gabby Agbonlahor from the first team for two weeks and put him on his own fitness programme after declaring he was not fit enough - said he will not focus on the game at Carrow Road.

He said: "I didn't know the Norwich result (last week) until I'd spoken to the players in the dressing room because I wasn't interested. I really wasn't.

"I know people will automatically say: 'You should have been interested because we're going down'. But I was only interested in what we'd done on the Saturday and that will be the same this Saturday, no matter what the (Norwich) result is."

Black handed a full top-flight debut to Jordan Lyden in last week's 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth and will be prepared to give youngsters like Andre Green and Keinan Davis their chance if they are ready.

"If I see an opportunity to do something, I guarantee I will," he said.

"I was the academy director at Celtic and I know how hard it is to get players in the team. But I will do that without doubt. I am not closed off to anything.

"What I won't do is put kids in if I don't think they are ready to play in the first team under the circumstances."

Black remains without Agbonlahor and Jordan Amavi (knee), while Jack Grealish is a doubt with an ankle injury but Alan Hutton is available after suspension.

Press Association

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