Monday 11 December 2017

Agbonlahor hails players for ‘standing up’ as Villa look to confirm survival

Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)
Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

Nick Mashiter

Gabby Agbonlahor believes Aston Villa’s struggling stars have taken responsibility for their survival fight as they look to seal Premier League safety.

Villa were in the bottom three and had lost their last five games when Tim Sherwood took over the reins from Paul Lambert in February.

They are now on course to stay up, after three wins in their last four matches, and will contest the FA Cup final against Arsenal on May 30.

Sherwood’s side – four points clear of the bottom three with two games left – head to Southampton today knowing a win would keep them in the top flight, with a draw enough if other results go for them.

“I think a lot of players have stood up,” Agbonlahor said. “That’s why we’re in a more healthy position to stay up than we were seven or eight games ago.

“There’s no reason why we can’t get safe as soon as possible. We’ve got a great squad now.

“The boys are playing at a high tempo, everyone is enjoying their football and, if you look at the results we’ve been having, we’ve beaten teams comfortably.

“With the FA Cup coming up as well, it’s an exciting time to be a Villa fan and for everyone associated with the club.”

Ciaran Clark (knee) is out along with Libor Kozak (back); Nathan Baker (knee) is back in training but will not be fit.

The Saints are seventh and still in the hunt for a Europa League spot.

Southampton v Aston Villa

Live, BT Sport 1, 12.45

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