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Staunton: Vital 90 minutes for Villa

Former Aston Villa defender Steve Staunton said it is ‘crucial’ the club wins their Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Bradford.

The Villans came from behind to beat Ipswich 2-1 in the FA Cup on Saturday, and have a tricky tie against the League Two giant-killers on Tuesday before playing fellow relegation candidates Southampton this weekend.

However, while the former Ireland international describes the visit to Valley Parade as a ‘massive hurdle’, he thinks Villa’s youngsters can use the opportunity and experience on offer to go on and win the tournament.

“It’s a crucial week for Villa really with Southampton at the weekend as well,” he told Goal.com.

“Villa are in for a very tough night, especially looking at the age of the squad.

“It has been a difficult period but you’re going to get that with a young squad. If they can get through to the final it will give the club time to get some of the older heads back.

“(The youngsters) have proved themselves on occasions, and on others have let themselves down badly, but you learn more in defeat than you do in winning.

“Hopefully they can come out of it. It’s not going to be easy, and it won’t be easy at Valley Parade.”

Staunton expects Lambert to set up his team to attack the League Two promotion chasers from the off, but fears for the Premier League side if they attempt to protect a lead.

“(Lambert) set up his teams to go at the opposition rather than sit back, I don’t think Villa are capable of sitting back and hanging on, if they do so they’ll be in trouble,” he warned.

“I think they’ll go at Bradford. It’ll leave them exposed at the back, but that’s the nature of the beast.”

And while they are not through to the final yet, Staunton feels the Premier League strugglers can go on to win the competition, even if favourites Chelsea also progress against Swansea.

“There’s no reason why if Villa get there they can’t beat Chelsea, but Bradford are a massive hurdle,” he added.

“As long as they don’t take that tie for granted and get to the final, it could be their year.”

Former Bradford defender David Wetherall believes his old side will be confident of causing another upset after knocking out both Wigan and Arsenal, but must get something from the first leg in order to reach the final.

“The two-legged nature of the tie will make it more difficult for Bradford – getting two good results rather than just that one-off that can happen,” he admitted.

“If they’re behind after the first leg it will be very difficult to turn it around away from home, but they will take a lot of confidence from the Arsenal victory.”

Tue 8 January, 2013
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