Aston Villa’s local lad and boyhood Villa fan Gary Gardner has spoken about his excitement ahead of this weekend’s derby against Birmingham City, when speaking to the club’s official website.
24-year-old Gardner has faced a difficult journey through to Villa’s first-team, which included a host of injury issues and time away from the club on-loan, but Villa’s academy graduate has since established himself in Steve Bruce’s squad with some fine performances.
Bruce’s side have been revitalised following the former Hull City boss’ appointment at Villa Park, as they’ve remained unbeaten in his three matches in charge, and Gardner has been a thorn in the side for both Reading and Fulham in recent weeks.
This weekend sees Gardner preparing for his first ever derby against Birmingham, an occasion the player can’t wait for.
“I can’t wait. It’s the biggest game for the boys but we’ve just got to make sure we get stuck in and get the three points. Obviously, the fans will be there getting us through it.”
“It’s a big thing for me as a Villa fan. My family are split, Craig is a Blues fan. And now I want to win and get it done with. It’s a massive game. It’s one of the biggest games of the season in terms of rivalry. But our plan now is to work hard every day – and in the game.”
“If we do that hopefully we’ll get the result.”
The match is also significant as it sees Steve Bruce return to face Birmingham, a side he led to promotion to the Premier League twice previously, but Gardner was keen to play-down the significance of that reunion.
“The gaffer just wants to go there and get the result. You can’t go back there getting too carried away. He’ll have all the lads working hard and right behind him. We all want to get the result for him and for ourselves.”
Sat six points behind the play-off spots, a win for Villa would be huge in their push for an immediate return to the Premier League and it would put the club three points behind rivals Birmingham.
Villa fans…. Are you feeling confident ahead of the tie? Let us know below!