Friday 23 March 2018

I'll keep Villa up, vows Sherwood

Tim Sherwood takes charge of Villa for the first time
Tim Sherwood takes charge of Villa for the first time

Tim Sherwood has vowed to save Aston Villa from the drop as he prepares them for the relegation run-in.

The new boss takes charge for the first time when Villa host Stoke in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.

Villa are third from bottom and sacked Paul Lambert last week after a run of just two wins from 21 league games.

Sherwood's managerial experience comes from 28 games in charge at Tottenham last season, before he left in May.

But he insisted, with 13 games to go this term, he expects to keep Villa in the top flight.

He said: "All I can do is do my best and I think my best is going to be good enough.

"Some experienced managers are very good and some are not very good.

"I think experience is overrated. If it was all about experience Wayne Rooney wouldn't play for Everton at 16.

"(Pep) Guardiola didn't have to go out and work in the lower leagues did he? It helps when you have the best players in the world. Don't get me wrong.

"Not everyone has to take the same pathway.

"I am grateful for the opportunity here and I will give it everything."

Sherwood, who signed a contract until 2018, watched Sunday's 2-1 FA Cup win over Leicester after being appointed at the weekend.

He expects to have an almost fully-fit squad.

Nathan Baker (knee) and Philippe Senderos (calf) are out and Gabby Agbonlahor has been struggling with a hamstring problem but Scott Sinclair is pushing to start after scoring his first goal since 2012 in the FA Cup win over Leicester.

Libor Kozak is training with the under-21 squad as the striker continues his recovery from a broken leg which has kept him out for over a year.

Boss Mark Hughes insists Stoke are out to spoil Sherwood's Villa debut.

With Stoke 10th, Hughes wants to dampen the positive atmosphere at Villa Park.

"They have a new manager and will have something of a new manager bounce. They will want to impress," said Hughes, who won 4-1 at Villa with Stoke last season.

"We have to be aware of that. We don't expect anything else and we have to be ready.

"They have a new manager in place and he comes across as a very positive guy.

"We've been doing okay, we've had a couple of poor results but prior to that we had a good run.

"I wouldn't think anyone will take us lightly as we've proved for long periods we can cause people problems.

"You still look at Villa's squad and think they should be doing better. I don't know why they've struggled so much.

"It will be a challenge for us but we look forward to it.

"We can match our finish last season. We're as near as we can be to being on track, we have some opportunities to better last year's total."

Ryan Shawcross remains sidelined with a back problem but Jonathan Walters, Erik Pieters, Marc Wilson and Stephen Ireland have all trained this week.

Geoff Cameron is banned after his red card in the 4-1 FA Cup defeat at Blackburn last weekend but Hughes has been boosted by the return of some key men.

He added: "We still have a few injuries. Ryan Shawcross is not available but we may get Marc Wilson back. We will hope to get a couple back - maybe Ireland and Walters.

"Pieters has trained for the most part of the week so we will get some back. That's where we are at the moment.

"We've had injuries over time. There's no rhyme or reason to it."

Press Association

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