Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Hendrie sees brighter days for Villa

Former Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie is optimistic about the club's chances of beating the drop this season and feels prosperous times could lie ahead if they stick with Paul Lambert - as long as a few more experienced players are added to the squad.

With eight Barclays Premier League fixtures left to play this term, Villa are 17th in the table, three points clear of 18th-placed Wigan, who have a game in hand. It has been a largely disappointing campaign for the midlands outfit, but back-to-back wins over Reading and QPR in the past two matches have boosted hopes - including those of Hendrie - that it will not end in relegation.

The 35-year-old, who made his Villa debut in 1995 and left the club in 2007, told Press Association Sport: "They have done superbly in the last two games. Now it is about keeping that momentum running."

He added: "They still have to play the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United, where they will need to dig deep. Even if they are just getting draws along the way, if they can keep that unbeaten run going, I do fancy them to stay up."

Villa's team this season has not had a great deal of Premier League experience within it and has featured lots of players in their early 20s.

Hendrie, who came through the club's youth ranks, sees plenty to be encouraged by in the efforts of those players and views Lambert as the right man to lead Villa forward.

But thinking back to the kind of team-mates he had when he first came into the side, Hendrie does believe some older heads need to be introduced to the mix.

Hendrie said: "There are a lot of clubs chopping and changing managers, but (Villa chairman) Randy Lerner has stuck with him (Lambert), he knows he has got the youth there and I think it is just about making sure they stay up this year and then maybe getting a few experienced heads in, and I don't think there will be a problem there.

"This season it is vital that they stay up and then I would definitely still have him as manager.

"No disrespect to the young lads, but I think you do need a few older, more experienced players that have played in the Premier League and know how to win games. It is all a learning curve."

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