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Scot, standing in for the unwell Gerard Houllier, says team are looking up the table but calls upon Ashley Young, Darren Bent and Stewart Downing to step up their performances

Aston Villa's stand-in boss Gary McAllister is not thinking about the drop despite a defeat to West Brom that leaves them just six points above the relegation zone with three games left to play.

Villa, who took an early lead through an Abdoulaye Meite own goal before Peter Odemwingie and Youssuf Mulumbu struck back for the 10-man Baggies after Paul Scharner's sending off, are now the third highest ranked Midlands side after Stoke City and West Brom, but McAllister is remaining focused on winning the local mini-league and not what is going on at the bottom end of the table.

He told reporters: "Villa is the biggest club in the Midlands. We want to finish top of that pile, it's still doable, and that's one of the little targets that players accept."

The Scot also called upon his star attacking players to appreciate that they will come under pressure and called them to turn it up a notch.

"Teams are obviously very aware of attacking players we've got in our team, we've got to take it up a notch," he said.

"Stewart Downing, Ashley Young and Darren Bent have been outstanding this year, Darren for both his clubs, and Ashley and Stewart have proved themselves with the way they've performed for Villa and their country. These guys have got to expect they will get special attention from the opposition."

McAllister, standing in for the remainder of the season for the unwell Gerard Houllier, bemoaned a host of mistakes and the failure to capitalise on their early lead and then facing a depleted opposition following Scharner's sending off.

He continued: "[It was] an opportunity to grasp three points against a local rival. We got ourselves in front, the first goal was a poor goal to concede [for us], we didn't challenge and we didn't defend the set piece.

"When West Brom went down to 10 men it was a great chance for us. We stuck on a lot of offensive players with skill, pace and a bit of guile, but we couldn't break down West Brom and then we got hit by sucker punch, which was again a series of mistakes.

"Possession-wise we were superior, but we didn't move the ball quick enough or with enough pace to trouble West Brom enough."

The former Leeds, Coventry and Liverpool midfielder also confirmed that boss Houllier was recuperating well after spending 10 days in hospital, although he had not spoken to him after the result.

"He's up and around and walking now," he said. "Bear in mind he's only 10 days away from first being admitted to hospital, he's in great nick."

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