Sherwood warns of Wigan example
Tim Sherwood has warned Aston Villa against suffering the same fate as Wigan while telling his players they are fighting for their FA Cup final places.
Villa are still involved in a battle against relegation after reaching the Cup final against Arsenal next month. They are four points above the Barclays Premier League bottom three going into a trip to Manchester City on Saturday.
Wigan won the FA Cup in 2013, beating City, but were also relegated that season and Sherwood wants to arrive at Wembley on May 30 having already guaranteed their top flight future.
"We want to avoid that (what happened to Wigan) and it is good to use as an example," said Sherwood, having guided his side to a 2-1 semi final win over Liverpool on Sunday.
"It is not what anyone enjoys. We certainly won't be enjoying that trip to Wembley if we are not a Premier League club at that time.
"We realise we have a lot of hard work to do. We obviously want to win the FA Cup and nothing is going to get in the way of that.
"But at the same time we definitely still need to be in the league. We will use everything we can to warn them against complacency.
"But really their motivation should be if they want to play in an FA Cup final they have to prove their worth to me in the league games remaining.
"If they don't then they won't be selected. There will be no-one saving themselves for the FA Cup final, put it that way.
"We are very confident we can stay in the Premier League but if you take your foot off the pedal, you never know - this game shocks you."
Sherwood is without Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker (both knee) for the trip to the Etihad while Alan Hutton is out with an ankle problem.
Gabby Agbonlahor could return after a hamstring injury while Philippe Senderos (thigh) and Aly Cissokho (groin) are available.
Christian Benteke will lead the line after nine goals in nine games under Sherwood and the boss admits the striker is a vital asset in their relegation battle.
Sherwood said: "I think I am very fortunate to have him here.
"For a player like Christian Benteke to be at a club fighting at the bottom of the division is a mis-match really.
"We are pleased to have him in our situation and he is in good form."