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Birmingham-born forward admits the players were shocked by the news of the midfielders illness and looks ahead to a tough trip to Carling Cup winners Liverpool in their next game

Gabriel Agbonlahor says the Aston Villa players will show Stilian Petrov they are ready to help him battle through after he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia.

The football world was shocked to hear of 'Stan's' illness, and Agbonlahor - who will take over the captaincy in his absence - says that it is something his teammates are struggling to come to terms with.

"A massive shock, for someone who’s as healthy as Stan, it was very shocking," Agbonlahor told Absolute Radio.

"I think Stan showed bravery to come to the game. He knew he would have been asked a lot of questions and he come and showed what a big effect he is to the players and also a big captain he is. We’re all ready for him to battle through this.

"It’s hit the players hard. I think they showed great fight on Saturday for Stilian [and were] unfortunate not to get the result. But I think with a bit more luck we [would] have, and we showed a great fight for him."

GOALS FOR GABBY?
66/1
Gabriel Agbonlahor is 66/1 with William Hill to score a hat-trick against Liverpool on Saturday.

Aston Villa face a tough trip to Liverpool in their next Premier League game and despite the Anfield side currently being in their worst run of form for nearly 60 years, Agbonlahor insists they will not be expecting an easy game.

"You can say that, but then again you can say they won the Carling Cup, so they’re cup winners. So it’s hard to judge them on their season," he said.

"They’ve had a lot of new players come in as well, so it’s hard to talk about them. We just want to focus on us and keep fighting for every game we play in.

"I think they’ll be looking to get the fans on their side after some disappointing results for themselves. We know it’s going to be tough, but as long as we start the game in a good manner then hopefully it will be good."

Listen to Liverpool vs Aston Villa this Saturday April 7 only on Absolute Radio extra - on DAB Digital Radio, 1215AM and online in the UK from 1.30pm. Tune in for the full Gabby Agbonlahor interview. For more go to www.absoluteradio.co.uk/football

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