Steve Staunton hope Capital One Cup can be springboard for Aston Villa

Bradford stand in way of final place

Steve Staunton thinks success in the Capital One Cup will help Aston Villa drag themselves away from the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

Villa travel to Bradford tonight for the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final.

The midlands side started the season full of confidence following the appointment of highly-rated young manager Paul Lambert, but with just over half the season gone Villa sit just one point above the relegation zone in 16th place.

Given the youthful make-up of the Villa squad, many have predicted a nervous second half of the season for Lambert's side, but former Villa defender Staunton hopes the players can get to the Capital One Cup final and use that will have a positive effect on their league form.

"You hope this will be a good distraction for them," Staunton said.

"Hopefully the confidence of the younger players will get a massive boost if they get to the final and hopefully that boost can be carried in to the league form where they can carry on, get away from the relegation zone with some good results and hopefully as the years go on become a very good young team."

Staunton came close to being relegated twice during two spells with the club and he has warned that Villa should not think they are immune from the drop because of their status as one of the top flight's big clubs.

"It's not a given that they are safe from relegation," the former Republic of Ireland manager said.

"There are three teams from seven or eight who could go down.

"There is only a couple of points separating them. One defeat can throw a team in to an awful lot of trouble."

Having helped the team through to the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, Lambert could retain the services of striker Darren Bent, who had previously fallen out of favour with the Scot.

Rumours persist that Bent will leave the club this month, but Staunton would like him to stay and form an effective partnership with his main rival Christian Benteke.

"It would be nice to see them both together and get a run of games together as a pair," Staunton said.

"Darren Bent's goals will be important and Benteke has done well for the squad. They are two quick lads. Benteke is very good in the air and we know Bent can score goals so I hope that we'll be able to see them together."

PA

News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect