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Mar 3, 2013

Agbonlahor fears Villa relegation

Aston Villa forward Gabby Agbonlahor has admitted that it's difficult not to be frightened by the prospect of relegation at his home-city club.

At a time when talk of Ryan Giggs' 1,000th game for Manchester United is all the rage, the 26-year-old revealed that he too can visualise a one-club career.

But that possibility will become all the weaker if Villa lose their battle for Premier League survival.

• Hughes: Villa hope to avoid City blues

"I think it (the prospect of relegation) would scare anyone," Agbonlahor said in the countdown to tomorrow night's home game against Manchester City.

"If I'm asked if I am thinking about relegation, I am not. I am thinking about helping the team to get out of where we are now.

"As long as you are in the bottom three, it is in your mind but, if it was a massive gap, you would be a lot more scared. It is only a point or two and you are out of there.

"We all know that as a team we have got into this mess by not getting enough points on the table. We are in it together and we will fight for each other."

The visit of the champions brings two former Villa men into focus in City midfield duo Gareth Barry and James Milner.

They and the likes of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing moved on from the Second City to bigger clubs but Agbonlahor says a top-flight Villa could be enough to keep him content.

"Players who have left have had their reasons for leaving," he added. "I've always enjoyed playing my football here, maybe other than the one season when I wasn't playing as much as I wanted.

"When you're happy, you have no reason to look elsewhere. If that changed, you obviously would. But if I'm in the team and enjoying my football, there is no reason to.

"As much as you want to win things, as long as I am here and enjoying my football, and the club still want me, I am happy to stay. This is the league you want to be playing in, the best league in the world. There's no reason I'd want to leave it."

Agbonlahor, who interrupted his long Villa career with loan spells at Watford and Sheffield Wednesday, believes the side's recent performances, as well as results, provide hope.

The club beat West Ham in another TV game three weeks ago in their last home game and also have decent displays at Everton and Arsenal to fall back on.

Saturday results went well for them and he added: "If we carry on the way we have been over the last four or five games, there is no reason why we can't get results. We are playing well.

"To get that win against West Ham was good. It gave the whole team confidence. Even though we lost against Arsenal, the way we defended meant we could take a lot from it. It could be similar against Man City.

"City are champions and it will be really tough. They have world-class players who can come off the bench. They are trying to prove people wrong who are having a go at them.

"On their day, they can do what they did to us up there, to anyone. We need to go into these games thinking they are cup finals. We will just go into it with confidence.

"They know they will need to win every game as Manchester United don't drop too many points. We have got to concentrate on our own game and what we are fighting for. As much as they need to win, we need to win. We need points as well.

"Before the Arsenal game, we were out of the bottom three but now we have dropped back in there. As I said, it would be different if you were nine or ten points behind but this is only on goal difference. It is not desperation, it is more determination."

And on Villa's distant horizon is the haunting spectre of a last-day visit to serial escapologists Wigan and another of those potential final-afternoon high dramas.

"We don't want that, especially on their pitch!" he said. "But whatever it takes, we'll do it. Personally, I am looking at getting results sooner."

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