REUTERS - Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan knows Reading will be fighting as if their English Premier League survival is at stake on Tuesday and says his side must not take the Royals lightly.
Villa have struggled under new manager Paul Lambert this season and with 10 points from 13 games are 18th in the 20-team top flight - a point and a place above newly-promoted Reading.
A win for either side on Tuesday will let them scramble clear of the drop zone, temporarily at least, and Bannan told Villa’s official website they had to approach Tuesday’s clash like it was a game against one of the Premier League’s big guns.
“The mindset is exactly the same as Man United, Man City and Arsenal. We have to keep going,” said Bannan.
”Reading are a newly-promoted side who are fighting for their lives so it will be a tough game. We certainly won’t take them lightly.
“There are no mugs in this league. You have to fight and work hard for your points.”
Barring a 5-0 mauling at the hands of Manchester City 10 days ago, Aston Villa have been competitive, holding Arsenal to a 0-0 draw on Saturday and pushing leaders Manchester United to the brink in a 3-2 defeat on November 10.
Goals have been hard to come by, however. Villa have scored just 10 all season, the joint fewest in the Premier League.
Bannan said that despite languishing third from bottom the mood in the changing room was upbeat and that results had not reflected their performances in recent weeks.
“We have played well over the last few weeks and played good football. It’s just that results haven’t gone our way on the whole,” he added.
”We were two-up against Man United and lost after performing well for over an hour. We held our own against another top team in Arsenal and picked up a point so we’ve taken a lot of positives from these matches.
“We will take that into the game on Tuesday and try to get the win.”
Writing by Peter Rutherford in Singpaore; Editing by Greg Stutchbury