Villa desperate to end bizarre record

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The Independent Online

Martin O'Neill will be looking to put an end to a bizarre unwanted record in Aston Villa's FA Cup quarter-final at Reading on Sunday - by claiming his first win in March since taking charge nearly four years ago.

The third month of the year has not been kind to O'Neill since he replaced David O'Leary in the Villa Park hotseat during the summer of 2006.

Villa failed to register a single victory in March 2007, 2008 and 2009 - a total of 12 matches.

Last season was particularly miserable despite Villa entering the month five points clear of Arsenal in the race for a Champions League spot.

A return of one point from four Barclays Premier League games during that period was the start of a dismal end to the campaign which eventually saw them overhauled by the Gunners and Everton.

But the visit to Coca-Cola Championship strugglers Reading would appear to be an ideal chance to bury that hoodoo as Villa look to bounce back from their Carling Cup final defeat against Manchester United on Sunday.

Skipper Stiliyan Petrov said: "We are a bit down at the moment after Sunday's result but that will drive these players more to come back to Wembley again.

"We have a great bunch of boys and we will keep fighting because this club wants to go forward and we want to win things.

"The FA Cup is a great competition. I won Scottish Cups at Celtic so I would love to go all the way to the final and win the main English cup.

"The Villa fans had to wait 10 years to get to Wembley before Sunday so it would be great to do it twice for them and the club in one season."

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