Baines Has Villa In His Sights
Hull win the perfect reply to Man City defeat, says England man.
Leighton Baines has set his sights on another three points at Aston Villa this weekend – but not before he takes stock after a frantic fortnight.
Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Hull City was the full-back’s third game in a week and a half following his exploits with England during the recent international break.
Baines and his Three Lions’ teammates shouldered the burden of an expectant nation with World Cup qualification at stake, but Roy Hodgson’s side held their nerve to beat Montenegro and Poland, and subsequently secure a place at next summer’s tournament.
Four days after the second of his back-to-back 90-minute displays at Wembley, it was a return to domestic duty as Everton grafted hard to derail in-form Hull on Saturday afternoon.
With no midweek fixture to contend with, Baines will take the opportunity to recharge his batteries before the trip to Villa Park – a venue where the Blues triumphed 3-1 last season.
“It has [been a tough schedule] but a lot of the other lads have been playing as well. It’s been a high adrenaline week and now we have the chance to take a couple of days to relax, put yourself back together and come back strong at the weekend,” Baines explained to evertontv.
“We are in good form and it was important to get three points after losing before the international break [at Manchester City], so we are back on track in that sense.
“We have enjoyed some good performances at Villa in recent years. I enjoy playing there – Villa Park is always a good place to go and play. So we look forward to that and hopefully we can get another three points.”
Steven Pienaar – a scorer in the away victory against the Villans last season – is pressing for a starting place against Paul Lambert’s side after his match winning cameo on Saturday.
If the South African is deemed fit enough to start what would be his first game in two months, Roberto Martinez must deliberate over which player makes way.
Against Hull, Leon Osman, Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas were deployed as the attack-minded midfielders, while Steven Naismith and Gerard Deulofeu waited for their chance from the bench.
The Blues were dealt a blow last week when Darron Gibson was ruled out for several months, though Baines still considers the central areas well-stocked for options.
“The more people we can get fit the better chance we have got, especially with players of the quality of Steven,” he continued. “In midfield there is so much competition for those places. The lads have got to be on top of their game all the time.”
Tickets for the weekend's match have sold out - but you can still catch all the action with free live commentary from Villa Park here on the official website. Visit www.evertonfc.com/listenlive shortly before kick-off on Saturday afternoon and you won't miss a kick!