• Aston Villa v Reading, Premier League

Bannan: Villa will turn campaign around

ESPN staff
November 27, 2012
Barry Bannan believes Aston Villa's road to recovery begins against Reading © PA Photos

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Barry Bannan insists Aston Villa are set to pull themselves clear of the Premier League relegation zone, starting with a win against Reading on Tuesday night.

Villa find themselves in the bottom three and tipped to face a relegation scrap this season after making their worst start to a campaign since 1964, as Paul Lambert struggles to get the best out of his new side.

But after a heart-breaking stoppage-time defeat by league leaders Manchester United and a hard-earned point against Arsenal at Villa Park already this month, Bannan believes Villa are in the process of turning their season around.

"It hurts when people tip the club to struggle this season," Bannan said. "But it's up to us to prove them wrong - and that's what we will do.

"In that changing room we've got quality. We're a bit young but I think we are confident in our own ability. We acquitted ourselves well against Manchester United and Arsenal but I think our season starts now with the games we've got up and coming.

"We all know in the changing room that they are winnable games."

Bannan insists Villa are taking nothing for granted against fellow strugglers Reading, who won for the first time this season against Everton before losing to Wigan at the weekend.

"I've not seen much of Reading," Bannan added. "I've seen a couple of games they've had on television. But it's one of the best leagues in the world. You are not just going to turn up on Tuesday and turn teams over because they've just been promoted.

"They are going to be battling for their lives so it is going to be a tough game and we will show them the same respect as Arsenal at the weekend."

Aston Villa player to watch: With Darren Bent's Villa future seemingly all but over, Lambert will continue to look to Christian Benteke to lead the line. Look out for his growing understanding with Gabriel Agbonlahor, who has always looked more comfortable sharing responsibilities up front.

Reading player to watch: Had Jay Tabb been awarded a penalty against Wigan, Brian McDermott believes the Royals would have gone on to win the game. The versatile midfielder will join the attack from deep at any given opportunity.

Betting: Villa have won one of their last 11 home games, but have never lost to Reading at Villa Park. With Lambert's side all too aware that points are vital and buoyed by a decent showing against the Gunners last time out, expect them to score the only goal of the game at 7/1 with bet365.

Prediction: 1-0

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