This weekend Aston Villa face Blackburn Rovers in what will be a monumental match for the opposition. The magnitude of the game for Blackburn will, of course, provide us with a severe challenge. Put simply, they need to win to have any chance of staying up.

Now I have nothing against Blackburn Rovers but our performance against a team fighting for survival will be incredibly informative when it comes to assessing our own metal.These two will have to be at their best for Villa to beat Blackburn

There is a risk, and it is certainly an understandable one, that they will be more up for the match than Villa. I know it seems like an inconsequential match for us at the end of the season but we need to be ruthless. We cannot let ourselves be bullied as a result of complacency.

If we are to do well next season then matches against teams that want it more than anything need to fall in our favour.

The hope would be that we can mount a significant promotion bid next year and, as we are seeing now, that normally comes to a head with a number of intense fixtures with a lot on the line.

Although it is at the other end of the table then we will hopefully be next year, Blackburn is faced with just such a match this weekend.

Villa has not lost to Blackburn since 2010 and it is important that that run continues and we do not lay down because of the comparatively little riding on the result for us.

I expect a good number of the personnel appearing in the team in this latter part of the season to feature next year so this will be a good tester for them to learn how they cope against teams who will throw everything at them.

If the challenge can be met head on then it will be a very good practice run for what will be crucial matches next campaign.

Of course, if Villa beat Blackburn then it lessens the likelihood of relegation for our local rivals, Birmingham City but we must focus on the benefits of a good result for us before we look for solace in how they can suffer if we lose.

It will no doubt be a tough match. Depending on how we do, it could show signs of how we will fare in big games next year.


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