'The hard work starts now' - Villa man determined to improve

Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor says that the hard work starts now for his side, as their fixture list becomes slightly easier.

Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor wants the side to build on the start they have made after the international break.

Villa go into the two week break from of club football sitting in the top half of the table, but Agbonlahor is determined to avoid complacency in the squad.

The Claret and Blue had been tipped as potential relegation candidates before the campaign started, but they have proven to be a match for some of the best in the division.

Although the side have lost their last three fixtures - to Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City - there is still great optimism around the Midlands side after an impressive opening.

Wins over Liverpool and Stoke City have been impressive, but they have backed this up by beating Hull City and picking up a point against Newcastle United - allowing them to collect a very credible points total at this early stage.

It gives them a platform to build on and, as the fixtures relent a little after a challenging run, Agbonlahor wants his team to get back to winning ways. 

"Our September fixtures and the City game were always going to be really tough," he said to the club's official site.

"I think we can now start looking at playing against teams that we have more chance of getting good results against and I think the international break helps a bit with getting the likes of Christian (Benteke) and Ron fit.

"If you looked at the fixtures before the start of the season and we had ten points at this stage then you'd be happy.

"We're happy with the start we've made but we know the hard work starts now."

Agbonlahor has been announced as captain in recent weeks, with Ron Vlaar out injured.

The jet-heeled front-man has been a loyal servant to the Villians and he says that it has been a huge honour to lead the side out in the Dutch defender's absence.

"Leading the team out at home or away is always a big thing for me. It's a big club and the club I've supported all my life," he said to the team's official site. 

"It's always a proud moment and I enjoy every game and love wearing the armband.

"But Ron is a great captain, a real leader and we'll be glad to have him back soon."

Villa's first game when they return to action after the international break is against a struggling Everton side, providing them with a decent opportunity to gain another three points to add to their total. 

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch