Where will Aston Villa's focus be this weekend?

Trinity Road Stand - Aston Villa

A Wembley FA Cup semi-final is all very nice, but Tim Sherwood will have one eye on Premier League results and Villa's survival this weekend.

Sherwood will perhaps be thankful that a number of Villa's relegation rivals are not playing this weekend, as a result of the FA Cup semi-finals that Villa themselves are involved in.

The teams closest to Villa; QPR, Hull City and Sunderland are without a game and so Villa won't lose any ground in the hunt to retain their Premier League status, which must take priority over the last-four meeting with Liverpool on Sunday. But at the same time, Sherwood will be mindful of over-exerting his players and picking up vital injuries and suspensions in the Wembley showpiece occasion, particularly with a tough trip to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City representing Villa's next Premier League assignment on Saturday 25th April.

Bottom club Leicester City entertain Swansea City, and second-bottom Burnley travel the short distance to Everton this Saturday, and with just seven points between the bottom-placed club and Villa in 15th place, Sherwood will be wary of the teams below creeping back up.

Last Saturday's 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur placed Villa six points above the drop zone, but with five games left to play that advantage can soon disappear, particularly if Villa themselves are not focused on the task in hand.

With that in mind, Sherwood and many Villa fans would accept an honourable defeat to Liverpool in Sunday's Wembley clash, although the 46-year-old boss is approaching the semi showdown with a professional attitude.

In his media briefing on Friday afternoon - covered by the club's official Twitter account - Sherwood described Gabriel Agbonlahor as "touch and go" and the six-goal striker will undergo a late fitness test before Sunday's game, but with pivotal league fixtures coming up quickly, Villa are surely unlikely to take any risks.

Meanwhile, defender Cieran Clark will miss the game through injury, but goalkeeper Shay Given - who has only appeared in cup games this season for Villa - has been confirmed as a starter as Sherwood remains faithful to the policy of resting first choice keeper Brad Guzan.

It is a sure sign that Premier League survival continues to be top priority for Sherwood, as much as he is showing sentiment towards the experienced keeper.

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