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AVFC Claret & Blues vs. Birmingham City Jokers

Villa Park

20/04/08

1200

Pigs in Mud Preview 2

Its Second-City-Derby time again, as the mighty AVFC Claret & Blues take on a Birmingham City club that has had it’s name dragged through the mud lately.

The blues are trying their hardest to avoid relegation this season, and once again it could be Aston Villa that set their closest rivals on their merry way back down to the Championship.

Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Elvis, Fish and much more in this weeks Vital Villa Preview.

Vital Quotes:

Potentially “want away” captain Gareth Barry believes that Sunday’s match will be more than simply getting one over the old enemy, but that both clubs are fighting for much more important reasons.

Speaking to avfc.co.uk, the man keeping Reo-Coker’s armband warm said:

“'I've got a couple of good friends who are Birmingham supporters and there's always a bit of banter close to the games. So I'll take a bit of stick if we're on the wrong end of the result tomorrow.

“Any sort of defeat hurts and that's how it should be, but obviously a derby defeat hurts just a little bit more.

“There's so much more at stake in any derby, but especially this time. This is the latest we've played a derby and when you come to the end of the season it's the business end when there's so much at stake.

“We're going for different things to Birmingham. They're fighting relegation and we've still got a good chance of playing UEFA Cup football next season.”

Meanwhile, Curtis Davies turns Claret & Blue cheerleader on Sunday as he sits out yet another Birmingham derby. The former Albion defender, set to join Villa on a permanent deal in the summer believes that victory over the Blues will help the Villans push on towards a European tour:

“I'll be cheering the boys on. It's a massive game and obviously I'd sooner be playing, but it's about the team and the club, not me.

“We want to be in Europe next season and the recent results have put us right back in the frame. I almost feel like a fan at the moment, going along to games to support the team.

“Blues are fighting for their lives and you're always playing for pride - for you and the supporters - in derbies. So we have to go into this game with the right attitude.”

*****

Meanwhile, there’s something fishy going on at St.Andrews (and I don’t mean financial oddities.)

Striker Mikael Forssell won’t be dining on his favourite food this weekend, as the chef at his favourite Japanese restaurant is a Villa fan! The sushi lover told the Sun:

“The chef at the sushi place is a Villa fan — I don’t think he’s going to poison me but I might not go this week.”

“Villa are playing well at the moment but derby games can go any way.”

What a load of cod!

Turning our attention to the manager, just for the halibut, former Rangers boss Alex McCleish is no stranger to big derbies, just like his opposite number in former Celtic gaffer, O’Neill:

“There is great passion between the players and the fans on derby day. They are never prettiest games to watch but certainly the will to win is evident in both teams.

“Any derby that you get a victory in is pretty special.”

McCleish also hinted that there may be a recall for one of the few Birmingham City players I would happily see arrive at Villa Park this season, Mauro Zarate.

“Mauro is in the frame to start and we're thinking about it,”

“We know that he's got skill but he's shown great appetite and great heart and I think you can say that about the Argentineans.”

“They are quite a tough race. I've been very impressed by his commitment and I know he wouldn't be phased on Sunday.”

Weren’t quite so tough in the Falklands though, were they!

AVFC Claret & Blues Team News:

Craig Gardner has returned to first team training to hand Martin O’Neill a pre-derby day boost. The battling midfielder being exactly what we may need later on in the match as I would not expect him to replace Stiliyan Petrov after his sublime performance against woeful Derby County.

Expect John Carew to be fit for at least 50 minutes.

Other than that, there’s no new injury worries, and after his comments regarding the disappearment (my new made up word) of Shaun Maloney, the wee man may just return to the bench for this one.

Player to watch: Gareth Barry

Gareth needs to show us he wants to stay and he means everything that has come out in the press in the lead-up to this match.

Villa hero to RedScouse Villain in the summer? Let’s hope not!

Birmingham City Jokers Team News:

James McFadden and midfielder Sebastian Larsson will be handed late fitness tests as Alex McCleish tries to work out what to do after a number of players missed training this week.

As mentioned previously, Mauro Zarate looks set to possibly replace McFadden anyway. Oliver Kapo may return to the Blues squad after a 7-match sitout with a hamstring problem.

Player to watch: Mauro Zarate

Mauro Zarate looks dangerous in just about every way and especially from set-pieces.

Rumoured to have been priced out of a move to Birmingham City this summer, I’d like to see us go for him as he looks like he has the extra quality our threadbare side requires.

Match Facts & Stats

Neil chose our pre-match music this week, I’m not sure what he’s hinting at regarding the choice of track, possibly the arrest of Karen Brady and David Sullivan last week.



  • Whilst the American’s remain in charge of Villa Park, it will be difficult to forget General Krulak’s hilarious swipe at Birmingham City co-owner David Gold.

  • “When you get down in the mud and wrestle with a pig, the pig loves it - and you get muddy. I think I will just let him to continue to talk.”

  • Brilliant! Hopefully someone will bring out a “pigs in mud m’lord” chant on Sunday.

  • Contrary to popular belief amongst Villans, Birmingham City have actually won things in the past, notably the League Cup (1963) and have won league titles 5 times in their history.

  • They also won this seasons Birmingham Senior Cup, defeating Burton Albion 5-0 in the final. This is a tournament that for some reason, Villa do not enter anymore.

  • Villa have however, won it more times than Birmingham, ha!

  • Villa fans will all be hoping that secret agent Liam Ridgewell will continue his good work for the claret & blue faithful, after his comical own goal in the last derby! A win for Villa will see them equal Blues’ number of wins in this fixture during Premier League times.

  • If selected, Marlon Harewood will be making his 350th league appearance.

    Ref Watch:

    The referee for Sunday’s match is none other than Mark “LOOK AT ME” Clattenburg.

    Mr Battenburg is returning to the Premier League after a two week absence whilst officiating Championship games. This may be down to his 8 yellow and 1 red card appearance in the 0-0 draw between Blackburn and Reading at the end of March.

    Match Prediction:

    I said 17-1 to Villa against Derby and whilst not as hefty a total as that, we went one better in keeping a clean sheet (even with Carson in goal!)

    Going more realistic this time, it’s a 3-1 win for Villa!

    Next Fixtures:

    Villa go on the road again next as they look to continue their pursuit of Everton at The Goodison Blue Scouse Arena on the 27th April.




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  • The Journalist

    Writer: Murph Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

    Date:Saturday April 19 2008

    Time: 1:02PM

    Your Comments

    "# Villa fans will all be hoping that secret agent Liam Ridgewell will continue his good work for the claret & blue faithful" lol best part of the article.
    Cubos
    Again shamful comments from Gold. He questions the Generals decency by saying "It would be nice if he offered him his hand" I have news for Gold, General Krulak is not a member of the blues board. A disgraceful artical, comments from Gold Pfttt
    col8
    "some dirty criminals had a farm ee i ee i o and on that farm he had some pigs ee i ee i o with an oink oink here and an oink there ................."
    supermansfoot
    I don't know about pigs in mud, more like deep *****!! Lets hope we can make times at Sty Andrews even more dismal for them tomorrow. 2-0 to Villa!
    godzvilla
    lets show the whole country that this is really the best derby out there in terms of atmosphere. 1-0 to the villa shaun maloney with the winner.
    villabikes29
    Mystic mug says 2-1 to Villa.
    The Fear
    like the choice is song Murph, you aren't as daft as you look my old mucker!
    The Fear
    Act One of today's play has played out and it's looking like this one is going to be a crowd pleaser! With Bolton winning things are looking grimmer for the baddies in blue....the Hero of our piece none other than our very own long serving character actor Secret Agent Gavin McCann! Here's looking forward to Act Two, can it get any better?
    YatesyVillain
    City's going down like a russian submarine... ;)
    delirium
    Bolton's win at The Riverside has made this even more of a must win game for the scum. Man for man we're the better team/squad, but as we all know from past derby day experiences, the rabble can, and indeed do have their moments. 2-1 to us..I hope!!
    glensider
    Yes Glensider Bolton's win has put another angle into the pot that is a derby game. The rabble from down the road will be out for guts and glory hailing a win over us now as the worlds greatest victory ever !!! Blah... Blah ... Blah We on the other hand need the win for our own dreams of Europe but as said and seen many times before derbys are unpredictable and we have had our upsets in them, many have said that they wish we will be the nail in the coffin so to speak and now tonight at 6pm 19/04/08 a win will do that ....... COME ON YOU LOINS !!!!! UTV
    Mutt_Man
    Brilliant!!! How important we are to blose, check this out - http://hmv.com/hmvweb/displayProductDetails.do?ctx=285;5;-1;-1&sku=762614
    PBAVFC
    Gavin McCann has done a bloody good job this afternoon. Let's complete the task and hammer that nail into their relegation coffin. Get Pompy to lose also will be the the clean sweep of results. Well done Gav !
    HolteEnder43
    Take it the two in the picture are in the clear then
    codbater
    I have a feeling Gabby will once again be the Derby Hero. Scoring the 1st just before HT and setting up Marlon for the final nail in their coffin. The filth - Forever in our shadow
    Villan-in-Cyprus
    Lads, where can i get the game on the internet? Any ideas?
    MattUTV
    COME ON YOU VILLA BOYS! I'm so up for this game!
    MattUTV
    Classic picture on the main page under the heading Pigs in Mud. Brady is a dead ringer for Miss Piggy. LOL
    Villan444
    2-1 to us? What had I been drinking? Guess I was in my benevolent type mood.
    glensider
     

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