Belfast Telegraph

Mcleish expects Agbonlahor to stay

Alex McLeish expects striker Gabriel Agbonlahor to stay at Aston Villa for the remainder of his career.

Agbonlahor has been the subject of speculation linking him with a move to today's opponents Sunderland who are managed by former Villa boss, Martin O'Neill.

The Villa manager said: "I would find it hard to believe that Gabby would leave. This is his club. Of course, it's football and you can never rule anything out. But I see Gabby being here for the next 10 years provided he is playing at the level he is capable of."

If Agbonlahor's love affair with Villa, where he graduated through the academy, means he will stay for 10 years he will be 35.

McLeish believes Agbonlahor will be disappointed at Villa's form during the past two seasons and will be desperate to ensure they are not involved in a relegation scrap.

He said: "Gabby knows that for the last two seasons we have been in the wrong half of the table by Aston Villa's standards. He'll be desperate to make sure that we are okay in the next few weeks. He's a big, important factor."

McLeish is challenging Agbonlahor to reproduce his outstanding form of the first half of the season.

He said: "That first half the season was exceptional. The evidence is there for him to look back at that and say 'look what I've done and I can produce that again'

"Gabby Agbonlahor is a match winner and he has been unlucky in recent weeks."

McLeish has confirmed his interest in Dutch Under-21 striker Bas Dost but dismisses reports that a contact has been made with the player or his club, Heerenveen.

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