Last Updated: Thu, 22 Mar 2012 08:57
Richard Dunne has called on Aston Villa to finish the season on a high note again and wants to overhaul ninth-placed Sunderland.
The veteran 32-year-old Republic of Ireland international defender is currently on the sidelines due to a broken collarbone, but he is hoping to return in April after jetting off to America for treatment with NFL outfit Cleveland Browns' medical team.
In the meantime, Dunne wants Alex McLeish's men to cast their minds back 12 months when Villa ended last term with a flourish by securing wins against the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool in a run of one defeat in eight matches to finish in the top half of the table.
Villa are up against the Gunners on Saturday, while they also have Liverpool to face on April 7 and Dunne can see no reason why they can't repeat that feat after an upturn in performances in recent weeks has moved them 11 points clear of relegation danger.
"We've had a steady season so far and we could quite easily finish the same way as we did last season," he told the club's website.
"We had a late run and ended up finishing ninth. I think that's still achievable for the lads.
"The last three performances have been brilliant, the results have been good and there's plenty of confidence now going into the games coming up.
"They're going to be a little bit tougher, playing against sides pushing for the Champions League places, but the lads have been doing really well."
Dunne added: "We're looking up at Sunderland in ninth place only four points ahead of us.
"Win a few games and we can push up there.
"We have some big games coming up at Villa Park, so hopefully it can be an entertaining end of season for the fans."
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