Aston Villa defender Nathan Baker prepared to step into Ciaran Clark's role at Wembley

Aston Villa

With Clark a serious fitness doubt for the weekend's FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool, his fellow centre-back looks set to take his place in the line-up.

Aston Villa’s Nathan Baker was disappointed to see fellow defender Ciaran Clark go down injured in the weekend’s 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur but has told AVTV that he is more than prepared to step into his teammate’s role for the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool.

After starting out the season as Villa’s fourth-choice centre-back, Clark has proven somewhat of a revelation since coming into the line-up in mid-November, starting all but two matches and emerging as a potential Player of the Year candidate.

The former trainee was forced off in the 17th-minute against Spurs with a knee problem, however, as his replacement Baker would go on to help the team record a clean sheet and all three points with an impressive performance alongside skipper Ron Vlaar.

“Obviously it was shame for Ciaran to get injured the way he did but for me to come on and help the boys get the clean sheet and the win was unbelievable,” said Baker.

“He’s waiting to get the results back from a scan and we’ll see from there really. It’s a shame as he’s been one of our best players, I reckon.

“He’s had his ups and downs, matured and done really well. There’s a few of us now at centre-back fighting for positions.”

Baker, meanwhile, has endured a frustrating few months at Villa, having made just one start in three appearances since suffering a sprained knee in November’s 0-0 draw at West Ham United.

The fit-again defender impressed when deputising for the injured Ron Vlaar over the opening stages of the season, however, including in a 1-0 win at Liverpool, and is eager to face the Reds again in Sunday afternoon’s clash at Wembley Stadium if Clark can’t make it back in time.

“To get the win at Anfield was massive,” he added. “We always seem to do well against Liverpool so hopefully that’ll give us a boost for the semi-final.

“Wembley’s the big one for me so to play there would be massive.”

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