McLEISH DEMANDS IMPROVED HOME FORM
Alex McLeish has challenged Aston Villa to improve their "rotten" home record and develop a ruthless streak ahead of tomorrow's Barclays Premier League clash with fellow strugglers Bolton.
Villa have chalked up just four wins in front of their own fans this season - in addition to six draws - and lie only five points above the bottom three.
McLeish has seen Villa surrender the advantage in several of those games and knows the significance of achieving a positive result against Owen Coyle's side.
The Scot said: "Our record at home is rotten. It's not something we are proud of.
"It's something that we can't do anything about now but we've got to do something about the next game. We've got to go all out to win it.
"The stakes of the Barclays Premier League are enormous.
"This next game is huge for us and Bolton and we've got to go for it - the players are totally committed and ready for the cause.
"We've lost sucker equalisers in the last few minutes. These points become vital when you get to this stage of the season.
"We've got to try and find that ruthless professionalism and resilience when we get to situations such as that."
Bolton's former Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker insists the pressure will be on the midlands club tomorrow evening.
But McLeish said: "Listen, the pressure has been on us the whole season because of the expectation levels at this club.
"I don't think the pressure can get any bigger than it already is.
"It's a high pressure game, it's high stakes, everyone knows what is at stake.
"I wouldn't imagine any player is not up for it or is frightened to go into battle.
"The players are aware of how important it is. We all are and, if we show the commitment we've shown in recent home games, we can earn the right to win this game."
McLeish revealed skipper Stiliyan Petrov is in constant contact with himself and the club as he undergoes treatment for acute leukaemia.
He said: "We've not seen him since last week. He's been in London since last week getting intensive treatment and by all accounts everything is good with Stiliyan.
"He has still got that fantastic spirit. He is still in touch everyday with text messages. He texted me after the Sunderland game and he is still with us every single day.
"Bolton have also suffered some trauma with Fabrice Muamba (after his cardiac arrest) and it is great to see Fabrice has made a recovery.
"It is quite remarkable and we are hopeful Stiliyan can as well."
Villa central defender James Collins has been ruled out of Tuesday's clash with a groin injury.
Right-back Alan Hutton is poised to return to the starting line-up with Carlos Cuellar switching into the centre of the defence to partner Nathan Baker.
Villa will give a late fitness test to striker and current skipper Gabriel Agbonlahor, who suffered a shoulder setback against Sunderland.
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