Should every neutral be willing Aston Villa to stay up?

Aston Villa are full of confidence after winning three of their last four. Is this good news for the Premier League?

While few will be sorry to see the back of QPR, a club who desperately tried to progress by throwing cash at big name stars in a bid for short-term fixes, there may be some disappointed if Aston Villa are relegated.

The reasons are varied; Villa have one of the most highly rated managers in football in Paul Lambert, or at least he was a year ago. An intelligent manager who has worked his way up from the lower leagues, it would be disappointing to see him falter.

But perhaps more at issue is the way Lambert has stuck by his young players, even in moments of trouble, and persisted with them despite their character testing mid-season slump which saw them win just two of 12 Premier League games between December and February, and also suffer humiliating cup defeats to both Bradford City and Millwall.

As full-back Matthew Lowton commented this week, the players are full of confidence and on a real high after lifting themselves out of trouble, and there must be a real optimism that if the club can move forward and survive then they will not be involved in such a struggle next season.

Young players like Lowton have been brought in, and are benefiting from playing Premier League football despite the tough standard, with Ashley Westwood of Crewe particularly impressive.

Villa have the exciting starlet of Gary Gardner still to return from a cruciate knee injury, and if he can fulfil his potential then the future of the club's midfield appears to be very bright.

Aston Villa's under-19 side also beat off competition from 23 other teams to triumph in the NextGen Series at the beginning of the month, giving the club even further hope for the seasons ahead.

So the last thing the club need is to be relegated, and fortunately their form has picked up at the most opportune time, the business end of the season.

Neutral fans should be willing them on, because the club have several young British starlets who can develop at the top level and turn into real stars. A trip to the Championship could be harmful to their development and could eventually lead to some players leaving Villa Park.

It is completely unlike last year, when few neutral fans would have been unhappy to see the back of a dour Alex McLeish side which offered very little in terms of entertainment or value to the Premier League - But this Villa side have potential, have potential to be different, and successful - And for that reason we should all welcome what will become an achievement if they stay up - And keep a close eye on what they have to offer in the future.

image: © ell brown

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