Stoke striker Jerome wary of Aston Villa team who 'really have to win'

In his time at Birmingham the former England Under-21 international played in several feisty encounters against the Villans, and he expects another tough afternoon on Saturday

Cameron Jerome has told his Stoke team-mates to be wary of Aston Villa when they meet on Saturday, noting that Paul Lambert's side "really have to win".

With only seven games remaining, Villa currently occupty 18th place in the Premier League on 30 points and are fully immersed in the relegation battle with the likes of Wigan and Sunderland.

Stoke are four points ahead of Lambert's team, with Jerome claiming they are not in serious trouble yet, but he understands the importance of getting a win and opening up the gap.

"I think that this is a game that is more important to them than it is to us, at this moment in time," the 26-year-old told the club's official website.

"They are right in the relegation mix, and whilst we know that we aren't clear of that threat either just yet, it is a game that Villa know that they really have to win.

"There are seven games to go and a lot of points to be played for, so obviously we want to pick up as many points as possible during that time.

"It's not do or die for us though, not at all, but we do understand the need of getting a win under our belts to give us a bit more breathing space, and in many ways take some of the pressure off.

"We would obviously like to be higher up the table, and have more points to our name, but unfortunately it hasn't worked that way, and we are where we are because of a disappointing start to 2013.

"I've played in a few games against them, and the ones for Birmingham were especially a bit fanatical. The atmosphere was always good, the games were intense and there was always a lot at stake, as you would expect in a derby match of that magnitude.

"They were always tasty encounters, and I am certain that the game against them this weekend will be equally as exciting. We find ourselves in a bit of an unfortunate position coming into the game having had a hugely disappointing start to the New Year, as I said before, so it's time for us to turn that around.

"I think it is only a matter of time until we get things back on track and start recording victories again."