Friedel fires Magpies warning
Brad Friedel has told Newcastle to expect a tough game on Sunday as Aston Villa battle for fifth spot. The Magpies are currently one point adrift of safety going into the final day of the Premier League season, and they will be desperate to pick up three points at Villa Park. Victory might not be enough for Newcastle, depending on Hull City and Sunderland's results, and Friedel insists even that should not be taken for granted. The goalkeeper is determined to help Villa finish their campaign in style after a disappointing run of results, with Everton having moved one point clear in fifth place. "Our form has been a bit disappointing recently. But we are still fighting for a fifth-place finish and that might not bode well for Newcastle as we definitely have something to play for," Friedel told Talk Sport. "After finishing in sixth place last season we do want to do better this season. "I know we've already qualified for the Europa League but we are professionals and we do want to do the best we can all the time and we do want to secure that fifth spot." Friedel experienced relegation scraps during his time with Blackburn and he has sympathy for the likes of Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Hull City. He said: "It's not a nice time for the bottom clubs. I was involved in one or two relegation battles in my time at Blackburn. "Specifically one season we found ourselves near the bottom with only a few games left. It's not a nice position and it's very difficult to play free-flowing football when you're in that predicament. "I know Newcastle has a lot of very talented players, especially going forward. "But when you get to games like this sometimes you tighten up and you're not able to show your stuff. It's not nice for any of those clubs. I don't wish relegation on anyone." Transfer speculation regarding Villa midfielder Gareth Barry has resurfaced ahead of the summer window, with just one year to go on his current contract. Friedel believes Barry is one of the finest players around and has expressed his wish for the England international to remain with the club. He said: "Gareth is a massive player for us and he's a massive player for England. He is one of the best players I've played with in my time. It would be a huge blow to us if he left. "But it would be a great thing for Villa as a club if he stayed. "In saying that, I believe that he has a year left on his contract so I'm sure it's going to be a busy summer for the Villa hierarchy to try and persuade him to sign. We'll just have to wait and see. "I have to say, he's a great guy to have around the place. He doesn't show any signs of wanting to leave Villa. "I think that anything that will come his way will come by way of opportunity and he'll have to weigh all his options up. But he's a very good lad and he's very committed to the club."
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