Young Villan is confident Alex McLeish's side can dent the League leaders' title chances and has called on fans 'to be our 12th man' as supporters plan protest against manager
By Rob Stewart
Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner is convinced his team have what it takes to “turn them over” when they face Barclays Premier League pacesetters Manchester City at Villa Park on Sunday.
The 19-year-old believes that Villa will benefit from being the underdogs against Roberto Mancini's side and is bullish about his team’s chances of emulating Everton, who beat City 1-0 at Goodison Park on January 31.
“It will certainly be a tough game but we think we can turn them over,” Gardner told Goal.com.
“We saw Everton turn them over last week and so I don’t see why we can’t do the same.
|MAN CITY FORM GUIDE
||3-0 vs Fulham (H)
||0-1 vs Everton (A)|
||2-2 vs Liverpool (A)
||3-2 vs Tottenham (H)
|W||1-0 vs Wigan (A)|
“I think that all the lads will go into the game with the same attitude. We can definitely turn them over if Everton can.”
The England Under-21 international may be a rookie but the thought of taking on City’s multi-millionaire internationals holds no fear for a player with just five first-team appearances to his credit.
“I am definitely not daunted by the prospect of playing Manchester City,” added Gardner.
“If you want to be a Premier League player - which is what I want to be because that is my dream - you have to be prepared to come up against players and teams like this.
“City have spent a lot of money and so if they weren’t top of the league then they would be worrying but there is a lot of class there. They have top-quality players there at City. They are only human and I think we can beat them.
Villa old boys Gareth Barry and James Milner will return to their old stamping ground and Gardner is eager to pit his wits against the England internationals.
“Hopefully I will be in the squad against Manchester City,” he said. “It would be another dream come true for me to play against the side that is top of the league and I would love to play a part.
“I didn’t really get to play with Gareth Barry because he left when I was a bit too young but I always used to watch him and he is a class player and a class act.
“I got to play with James Milner a few times and they are both class players but I am sure that if we can stop them playing and get the chances to score hopefully we can take them.”
|GARETH BARRY & JAMES MILNER
|STATS VS FULHAM...|
||SHOTS ON TARGET
Villa will be aiming to bounce back from a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle last weekend.
“We definitely deserved more than we got up at Newcastle and we could have actually won the game rather than lose,” Gardner said.
“The lads are doing well and we can definitely build on that. It was great for me to come on for the last ten minutes. I had two chances and should have equalised but we were a bit unlucky.
“Things have been going really well for me on a personal basis. I have had the chance to get a taste of first-team football here and there and I am still playing and scoring goals for the reserves so I am really happy at the minute and hopefully I can kick on.”
As disenchanted fans plan a protest against the club’s Scottish manager, the teenager remains adamant that Villa can beat City - but only if supporters are vociferous in their backing for Alex McLeish’s charges.
“If the fans get behind us they can be our 12th man,” Gardner told Goal.com.
“I don’t want them to get frustrated because if it wasn’t for our fans I am sure that half the games this year we wouldn’t have won.
“We need the fans behind us. That definitely helps. If they can encourage us that is what we will need on Sunday.”
Gary Gardner was speaking on behalf of Barclays Ticket Office. Every 90 minutes throughout the season Barclays is offering fans the chance to win free tickets to Barclays Premier League matches by going to a Barclays ATM and requesting a receipt, or by visiting www.barclaysticketoffice.com