Other results have left Villa just two points above the relegation zone with four games left. “I could have hand-picked at least five other teams who I would like to come here rather than Everton,” Sherwood said. “They are the form team in the league. They played very well (against Manchester United), they broke very well and they can cause a lot of teams problems. They’ve got some exceptional players. “The mindset is that we’re disappointed on the back of a defeat. When you lose you just want to put it to the back of your mind as soon as you can. “You can’t, though, at this stage of the season because you have to wait another week before you put it away. “We went there and had them on the back foot for 85 minutes. If we continue with that level of performance I’m confident we will be OK.” Alan Hutton is back in training following an ankle injury and will be assessed ahead of the Toffees’ visit while Philippe Senderos could feature after a thigh problem, but Nathan Baker and Ciaran Clark (both knee) are out. Goalkeeper Shay Given is pushing to start after Brad Guzan’s error gifted Sergio Aguero Manchester City’s opener last week and Sherwood admitted he has a decision to make. Boss Tim Sherwood admits he is wary of in-form Everton but insisted Aston Villa are ready to forget their Manchester City frustration. He said: “It was an obviously an error from Brad and he recognises that. There were other errors made on the field. When you’re a goalkeeper, you’re in the firing line. “I’ve always got decisions to make about the goalkeepers. I’ve said that about all the players. There’s a lot of players competing for places. Everyone has got a right and an opportunity to start.” Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is not ready to return to action. The forward has been out with a hamstring injury which also forced him to miss both the FA Cup semi-final win over Liverpool and last weekend’s narrow loss to Manchester City but has yet to return to training. Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar will miss the trip as he sits out a third successive match because of a muscle injury. Utility player Bryan Ovideo’s season is over after he broke a metatarsal in training, joining midfielder Darron Gibson on the sidelines with a similar problem. Defender Tony Hibbert is the other long-term absentee. Everton head to Aston Villa on Saturday as the Premier League’s form team after five wins and a draw. Last season they took 21 points from the final 10 matches and the fact they are replicating those results is a positive for boss Roberto Martinez. “It is about being consistent with your work on a daily basis,” he said. “If you look at the players there is a really good balance of being fresh and physically strong enough. “I think to be able to finish the season strongly is vital as the final 30 points is when you are fighting for what you want to achieve in the league. “It is very pleasing because it is a real test of the staff at the club and the professionalism of our players and that is pleasing.” Not so long ago Everton were threatened with being dragged into a relegation battle but those fears were banished pretty quickly and Swansea, in eighth six points ahead, are now in their sights. “It is an important moment of our season. Tenth is a spot that six games ago it looked unthinkable,” said the Toffees boss. “At the moment we are not looking at positions in the table, we are just trying to make sure we carry on with the run.” The Toffees have won five of their last six Barclays Premier League games, drawing the other, ahead of their Villa Park clash on Saturday. They comfortably beat Manchester United 3-0 last week while Villa slipped to a battling 3-2 defeat at the Etihad. Press Association
”You could be scared because it was four different places attacked. You don’t feel secure anywhere. ”Everybody who was in Paris on Friday night was in shock. France is like England – a tolerant and generous country. You have a bit more of a question of security, because it looks like it’s not the end of it.” Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny was involved in France’s game against Germany on the night of the attacks in Paris and also played against England at Wembley. But Wenger has hinted he may not be ready to feature against the Baggies this weekend. ”You could see that on Tuesday night he was not himself,” Wenger added. ”It affected him deeply and I didn’t recognise the player I saw on Friday night on Tuesday night. ”I will talk with him. What I will want from him is that he’s completely committed and feels ready. If not, I will not play him.” Koscielny is among 72 French players currently in the Premier League which makes France the second-most represented nation after England. The French national anthem will be played before all Premier League matches this weekend in tribute to the victims of the Paris terror attacks. A one-minute silence is also to be observed while players will wear black armbands in memory of the 129 people killed in the French capital on Friday night. The decision from the Premier League comes after English and French fans united to sing La Marseillaise ahead of England’s 2-0 win at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday evening. The French anthem will be played after the coin toss of each match with players to stand in the centre circle and face the main stand. “Given how close we are as well as the long-standing relationship that exists between the Premier League and France, playing La Marseillaise as an act of solidarity and remembrance is the right thing to do,” said Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore. “We were all saddened and deeply shocked by the events in Paris last Friday, and the fact it was an attack on people enjoying their everyday freedoms like going to a bar, a concert or a football match resonates with football fans and the general public throughout the UK.” Premier League clubs will also liaise with local police to deliver extra security measures at matches this weekend due to the ”heightened sense of awareness” after the terrorist attacks in Paris. Although the ‘severe’ threat level remains unchanged, the clubs are up to speed with the latest security advice. Scudamore added: ”The clubs have been fully briefed in context of the current guidance from national security services and are liaising with their local police forces to ensure the appropriate security and safety measures are in place for their matches and stadiums.” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who was in Paris on Friday night, admitted he was stunned by the violent events in his home country. “I was more in shock than fearful,” Wenger, whose Arsenal side travel to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, said. Press Association
‘‘You are going to come under intense pressure from other teams as the defending champions of the 2015 World Handball Youth Championship, but you must remember the spirit of sportsmanship. I have watched your training today, and from what I can see you have justified the two weeks you have spent in camp. More importantly, you have to work very hard to retain the trophy you won last year,’’ he said.The Permanent Secretary commended the handball team for setting a good precedence of winning an international trophy last year, pointing out that the administration would encourage all the other sports to move into the spotlight through more training and competitions.In his remarks, the Coach of the State House handball team, Aminu Ibrahim, said the team had gained lots of experience by participating three times in the same international tournament and winning the gold trophy last year.He promised that the team would put in their best to retain the trophy.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Tobi Soniyi in AbujaThe Federal Government Tuesday in Abuja urged athletes participating in the forthcoming 2016 World Handball Youth Championship in Granollers, Spain to defend their current title with diligence, maturity and integrity.The State House handball team, Aso Rock Kings, will be representing Nigeria at the 2016 World Handball Youth Championship, which will be held in Spain, June 28th -July 4th, 2016.Speaking to the team, which had a training session at the National Stadium, the State House Permanent Secretary, Jalal Arabi, told the athletes to remain focus, committed and unwavering in defending the gold trophy they won in Spain last year.