Rowell Report: Sunderland players must forget about their last visit to Aston Villa

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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HOPEFULLY Sunderland players travelling to Villa Park on Saturday, won’t dwell too much on their last visit there.

It is never ideal when your next game is against a team with a psychological advantage of a 6-1 win over you still relatively fresh in the memory.

Also, our away form this season doesn’t inspire confidence and we are not being helped by our habit of picking up red cards, however dubious.

Whenever I’ve seen Aston Villa this season, they seem to be a team that is better going forward than defending and with a front three of Gaby Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann, they will have the ammunition to cause big problems for Sunderland’s defence.

There is pace, strength and a goal threat in that attack and Benteke in particular ran riot against us last season.

Like us, Villa have claimed the scalp of Manchester City, when they beat them at home earlier this season.

But whereas we defended heroically and nicked a 1-0 win, Villa breached the City defence three times, while conceding two.

Manager Paul Lambert hasn’t been afraid to give young home-grown players a chance but as is usually the case with inexperienced players, consistency can be a problem and Villa often follow up one really good result with a bad one.

The fact that Villa have already lost four games at home this season would underline that inconsistency and this should give Sunderland some hope.

Gus Poyet will have decisions to make when it comes to team selection with Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena now available.

I still think Cattermole gives protection to the back-four better than anybody else we have got at the club.

But if he does play, it has got to be under the strict instructions that he keeps his discipline and doesn’t give referees any excuse to discipline him, as we just can’t afford to keep giving the opposition a numerical advantage.

Villa Park is a place I like to visit.

I enjoyed playing there during my career and I look forward nowadays to going there as part of the media.

It is a traditional stadium that has been updated well and there’s usually a good atmosphere.

Of course every ground you visit always feels better if you come away with a positive result and after Villa inflicted our heaviest defeat on us last season, we certainly owe them one.