Saturday, 3 March 2012

Kean Warns Villa - You Are Not Safe Yet

Steve Kean has warned Aston Villa that Blackburn are about to drag them into a relegation battle.

Alex McLeish’s men may feel comfortable sitting eight points above third-bottom Rovers in the table.

But boss Kean believes a win for his side today would leave good pal McLeish sweating over Villa's chances of staying up.

After seeing Blackpool plummet from relative safety to relegation last season, he knows it can happen to Villa.

Kean, who last night named goalkeeper Paul Robinson as captain for the rest of the season, said: “I don’t think anyone who will have a four or five point advantage over us is out of it by any means.

“Blackpool had 32 points at this stage last year and didn’t survive. The gap only matters at the end, not now with the amount of games coming up because teams have always put runs together and others have hit the wall.

“Everyone will say, ‘There’s a gap now,’ but there’s so many games to play and points to be made up or lost by teams that might think they are in a safe position.”

Kean admits Rovers are in ‘massive March’ which sees them face Villa today then Wolves away, Sunderland at home and Bolton away.

And he has set his side a target to be out of the bottom three by April 2, when they take on Manchester United at Ewood Park.

He added: “What we want to be at the end of the month is in a position where we’re out of the relegation zone and hopefully have a bit of daylight.

“It’s not only us putting points together, there are teams around us going to some very tough grounds where we’ve already been.

``We'd have taken getting five points out of those games – Liverpool, Manchester United, Everton, Arsenal and Manchester City - it’s a decent return.

“We’ve got Villa and Sunderland at home and two good away games jammed either side, it’s a great month for us.”

Despite Kean’s optimism, there will again be further protests outside Ewood Park before kick-off against the Blackburn hierarchy.

But the Scot insists what goes on outside stays outside. It is not even mentioned in the dressing room.

And he wants the supporters inside the stadium to continue what they have been doing in recent weeks during matches, getting behind the team.

Kean insisted: “I don’t need to address the players about it. We don’t talk about it.

“The lads have felt a real sea change inside the ground since the Bolton game. They’ve felt there’s been a change and the fans have got behind us.

``The fans inside the stadium – which I suppose are some of the ones outside – have only been positive. I can only continue to ask for that.

“I’m sure they’ll be the same as the players and staff – excited about these games coming up. We’re not dreading them.”

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