Aston Villa can beat the drop, insists Clark

The 23-year-old believes that the 19th-placed Villans can overcome the odds and avoid relegation having put in an encouraging performance against Everton last weekend

Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark has insisted his team-mates retain the belief that they can stave off relegation from the Premier League this season.

The Villans currently sit in 19th place in the top flight, two points adrift of safety amidst a winless run of eight league games.

But, despite his side having surrendered a 3-1 lead to draw with Everton last weekend, the Republic of Ireland international is confident of a turnaround.

"The core belief within the team and the squad has not waned. In fact, the belief is there now more than ever," Clark told the club's official website.

"We've shown we can do it against good teams - Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City in the League Cup and even in the game against Manchester United - so we just need to back it up with results between now and the end of the season and we believe we can.

"On the training pitch we've been working hard and that will hopefully equate to greater consistency over the latter part of the season."

Clark also revealed that he is keen to atone for a 1-0 opening day defeat to West Ham when his side meet Sam Allardyce's men at Villa Park on Sunday.

"West Ham will be a tough game, of course," Clark continued. "They're doing well this season and they got one over on us on the opening day.

"Andy Carroll has come into the team since then and he's a big threat for them. But we just have to concentrate on our own performances and we have plenty to keep them focussed on our attacking players.

"We felt quite solid in the game at Everton and they were good goals that got scored by both teams. If we can carry that on, we know we can get the extra lift that a win would give us right now."