Birmingham clash has come at a good time for Aston Villa, says Micah Richards

The Villa skipper insist that his side will be extra motivated heading into the Capital One Cup tie after suffering back-to-back Premier League defeats.

Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup third round tie against Birmingham City has come at the perfect time for Aston Villa, team captain Micah Richards has told AVTV.

After being beaten 3-2 at Leicester City, Villa suffered their second straight defeat on Saturday with a 1-0 home loss to Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion which dropped them down to 17th-place in the Premier League table.

They are now without a top-flight win since the 1-0 opening day victory at Bournemouth and the pressure is starting to build on manager Tim Sherwood just seven games into his first full season in charge.

Another derby defeat to fierce rivals Birmingham would undoubtedly see the team incur the wrath of the fans but Richards insists that he and his teammates are not daunted by the prospect of an upset and instead see the fixture as a great opportunity to get back on track.

Speaking after the West Brom game, in which Saido Berahino’s first-half strike proved the difference between the two sides, the centre-back said: “I think every game’s massive for us. Leicester was a hard one to take and West Brom was even harder, so I think we’ve got to put things right on Tuesday now.

“We definitely will be relishing it. It’s come at a good time. Going into it, the lads will be giving 100 per cent off the back of the last couple of results, which have made it a must-win game.

“It’s going to be difficult but we’ve got some good players and, if we approach it right, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t win the game.”

 2015-16 Premier League Errors Lead To GoalTotal Tackles GAMETackles AccuracyTotal Clearances GAMEHeaders Won GAMEHeader SuccessInterceptions GAMEPassing AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Micah Richards 0 2.33 79% 7.17 3.33 71% 3 85% 6 540

Villa’s last encounter with fierce rivals Birmingham in January 2011 saw them held to a 1-1 league draw at St Andrew’s but the two teams also met at the quarter-final stage of the League Cup the month before.

Nikola Zigic’s late strike handed the Blues a 2-1 win on that occasion, as they went on to lift the trophy under former Villa boss Alex McLeish, and the now-Championship side will be hoping to cause another upset after losing just one of their opening nine games of the season.

Gary Rowett's men have failed to win in their past four visits to Villa Park but, with the hosts getting off to their worst-ever start to a Premier League campaign, the claret and blue faithful could be in for a nervy night.

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