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Aston Villa V Bolton at Villa Park : Match Preview
Published : 24 Apr 2012 09:43:20
McLeish demands improved home form.
Alex McLeish has challenged Aston Villa to improve their 'rotten' home record and develop a ruthless streak ahead of the Barclays Premier League clash with fellow strugglers Bolton. Villa have chalked up just four wins in front of their own fans this season - in addition to six draws - and lie only five points above the bottom three. McLeish has seen Villa surrender the advantage in several of those games and knows the significance of achieving a positive result against Owen Coyle's side. The Scot said: "Our record at home is rotten. It's not something we are proud of. "It's something that we can't do anything about now but we've got to do something about the next game. We've got to go all out to win it. "The stakes of the Barclays Premier League are enormous. "This next game is huge for us and Bolton and we've got to go for it - the players are totally committed and ready for the cause. "We've lost sucker equalisers in the last few minutes. These points become vital when you get to this stage of the season. "We've got to try and find that ruthless professionalism and resilience when we get to situations such as that."
Villa central defender James Collins has been ruled out of with a groin injury. Right-back Alan Hutton is poised to return to the starting line-up with Carlos Cuellar switching into the centre of the defence to partner Nathan Baker. Villa will give a late fitness test to striker and current skipper Gabriel Agbonlahor, who suffered a shoulder setback against Sunderland.
Meanwhile, Bolton manager Owen Coyle has told his side they must cash in their games in hand to avoid following Wolves into the npower Championship. Wolves became the first side to lose their Barclays Premier League status after going down 2-0 to Manchester City on Sunday, and the emotional scenes that accompanied their relegation will have weighed heavily on the teams still battling the drop. Bolton are currently second bottom and four points from safety, but they have five games still to play, while Blackburn, Wigan and QPR all have just three more fixtures. Villa, who are also not clear of danger in 15th, are first up and Coyle knows it is now or never time.
"Wolves are a fantastic club but sometimes things go against you for whatever reason," he said. "Nobody wants to see what happened to Wolves happen to their own club and if that's an added incentive for us then all well and good. "For our own part, we have to make sure we are ready to give five big performances and pick up enough points to stay in the league. "Everyone knows it is the business end of the season. We have five games as opposed to everyone else's three but one or two of them have picked up points to get them in the bag (already). "There are six points available from the games in hand. If you told me we'd get six points from those games, you'd do somersaults to get them. We'd have loved to have those points in the bag, but we have the opportunity and we have to maximise that opportunity. "The bottom line is that we decide our own fate." Coyle is sweating over the fitness of Mark Davies as he desperately attempts to keep his threadbare midfield functioning. A horrendous run of problems - starting in pre-season when Lee Chung-yong and Stuart Holden suffered long-term injuries and including Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest on the field against Tottenham - have left Bolton desperately short in the engine room. Davies sustained a knock against Swansea and did not train on Monday, but Coyle is hoping he can take on Villa. If not, 18-year-old Josh Vela could be pressed into action after making a late debut last time out.
Aston Villa V Bolton - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game live.