Tim Sherwood eyeing both Aston Villa safety and next season

Aston Villa's Premier League safety could be assured on Saturday, but manager Tim Sherwood has one eye on that and another on next season.

Villa lie four points above the drop zone in the Premier League and could confirm their top-flight status with three points at Southampton on Saturday. Essentially, however, they will be safe if they match Hull City's result, ie. if Villa lost they would still be safe if Hull also lost at Tottenham Hotspur, thus maintaining the four-point gap with just one game to play.

Tim Sherwood has overseen a dramatic upturn in fortunes for the Midlands club since his appointment in February, a run that has included three wins in the last four league games - the last of which was a 1-0 victory over West Ham last Saturday through a Tom Cleverley goal - and a place in the FA Cup final versus Arsenal at the end of the month.

Ensuring Premier League status for another season is the immediate goal, however, and Sherwood is clear on what is required. Speaking to Aston Villa's official site, Sherwood said: "It's not done yet. We need to win one more game. All eyes are set on Southampton. We think we can achieve it there. They have good players. Ronald Koeman has inherited a good group of players and he's added to it. They have had a very good season. It will be a tough game. We know they have quality - but we have also. They will be playing a very confident Villa side."

While Sherwood acknowledges Villa have yet to secure their top-flight status, he is already entertaining thoughts of next season and has spotted plenty in his players which gives him hope for the future: "The performances have been good but it's about getting the points now and then rebuilding for next season. From when I arrived, I slowly realised there was enough quality here. As the weeks went on, I realised there was the belief as well."

With Villa expected to beat the drop, Sherwood feels he must then work to change the club's mentality after two successive campaigns fighting relegation: "It's one step at a time. We have to make sure we shake off that relegation tag next season and then we can build. If we can get over the line and then carry on the ratio of what we have done recently at this football club then we will be up there. We just hope we've turned that corner and got that winning habit.

"There's still a lot of hard work to be done though, starting again this weekend."

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