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O'Neill eyes local advantage
09 Nov 2007 - 10:37:52
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill believes his homegrown players will rise to the occasion in Sunday's local derby with Birmingham City.
Villa make the short trip to St Andrew's with the likes of local youngsters Gabriel Agbonlahor, Luke Moore and Craig Gardner in his squad.
O'Neill is also likely to hand Birmingham-born Zat Knight a start in the centre of defence following his impressive form since joining from Fulham in the summer.
"I think that they would have a better feel for it than perhaps some of the players who have been on foreign fields," he told the club's official website.
"It doesn't mean that you're going to play any better in the game, but during the course of it if you understand what it's all about."
However, O'Neill, who spent five years at Celtic experiencing the Old Firm derby, doesn't believe the rest of his squad will suffer from stage-fright.
"Interestingly, in recent years at Celtic there were more foreign players coming in to play in the Old Firm derby," he added.
"Where it used to be packed with Scotsmen, suddenly there are lots of players who initially would want to know what all of the fuss is about but then (they) soon got to know what all of the fuss is about.
"They will all get to know what all of the fuss is about on Sunday."