Agbonlahor plays down Villa fatigue concerns
Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has insisted fatigue will not be a problem for the Aston Villa players as they try to hold onto a Champions League spot during the final third of the season.
Villa manager Martin O'Neill sacrificed hopes of glory in the UEFA Cup by sending a shadow squad to CSKA Moscow in midweek minus eight first teamers including Agbonlahor.
O'Neill is conscious of the possibility of one of the smallest squads in the Premier League being affected by burn-out particularly as they launched their season in early July via the Intertoto Cup.
But Agbonlahor is confident Villa will be fresh enough to cope during the final 12 games ahead of Sunday's home clash with Stoke and Wednesday's visit to Manchester City.
Agbonlahor said: ''We have had our time off to recover so the squad we have got should be enough to see us through the rest of the season.
''You need time to recover, the manager gives us that, and it will help us to see things through to the end.
''You also get used to playing lots of games. For the last couple of seasons, most of the team have got used to it. It is not really a problem.
''I don't see tiredness being a problem and we are all aware what is at stake. Qualifying for the Champions League would be superb.''
Agbonlahor added: ''The next few weeks are really big but there is a mood of optimism amongst the players. We are going into every game feeling confident and looking for a positive result.
''There is great strength and determination in this team. We have scored quite a few late goals. It shows the team will fight to the end.
''Think of the league game at Everton when they scored a very late goal to make it 2-2. Our heads could have dropped after that but instead we went down the other end and got the winner.
''We've done that a few times by keeping going from the first to the very last minute.''