With Premier League safety secure, Tim Sherwood wants to repay Aston Villa’s fans for their support with a final-day home victory over Burnley on Sunday.
A few weeks ago, it looked as though this fixture would be a crunch relegation clash, but recent results have seen Villa pull away from danger, while the visitors are already consigned to the drop.
Villa’s survival was confirmed last weekend, although a 6-1 hammering at Southampton meant they were reliant on Hull City’s 2-0 defeat at Tottenham later on Saturday.
Ahead of an FA Cup final meeting with Arsenal next weekend, Sherwood – full of praise for opposite number Sean Dyche – says it is important his players send supporters away from Villa Park in buoyant mood.
“We want to go out with a win. We owe it to our fans who have stuck by us and helped us over the line,” he said.
“We want to send them home happy. It’s a full house. We want to give a good performance.
“We’ll only be celebrating if we win the FA Cup. They [Villa’s players] are all fighting for their places. Nobody’s place is safe. It’s all up for grabs.”
Dyche has earned plaudits for the way Burnley have played this season, but that has ultimately counted for little and the Lancashire club were relegated two weeks ago despite winning 1-0 at Hull.
Much like Sherwood, Dyche wants to end a difficult campaign on a high note and ensure fans enter the off-season in positive mood as they prepare for life back in the second tier.
“It doesn’t seem two minutes since the first game against Chelsea, but the last game is still one where we want to perform to win,” he said.
“We saw off our home fans last week [in a 0-0 draw with Stoke City] and we want to do that for our away fans. They’ve been terrific, absolutely outstanding, so hopefully we can give them a win to go away happy with.
“They’ve been an absolute shining light, across the Premier League, in how they’ve supported us.
“I think the fans are in a wiser place. They’ll have learned from the last time they were in the Premier League and how tough it is to come away from it and get back in there.”
Kieran Richardson is a doubt for Aston Villa with a calf injury, as are Nathan Baker and Ciaran Clark (both knee).
Burnley, for whom top-scorer Danny Ings is set to make his final appearance with his contract due to expire, have no new injury worries, but remain without long-term absentees Kevin Long and Dean Marney.
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