Last Updated: Mon, 05 Mar 2012 10:11
Villa boss Alex McLeish has challenged Stephen Ireland to fill the void left by Robbie Keane after his return to Los Angeles Galaxy.
Keane scored three goals in six starts for Villa and now McLeish wants midfielder Ireland to respond in the same way in the role behind lone striker Gabriel Agbonlahor.
The former Machester City player created an initial favourable impression during Saturday's 1-1 draw at Blackburn.
McLeish said: "We said before the weekend game that guys have got to take big responsibility now. Guys like Charles N'Zogbia, Stevie (Ireland) and Gabby.
"Now that Darren Bent's injured and Keano's left, it's a great opportunity for these boys to show that they can really be top players for Villa. These lads are giving us a different dimension now.
"Robbie was more of a goalscorer who also linked the midfield to the attack. Stevie's slightly different but we're now challenging Stevie to be as hungry as Robbie to score goals."
Have you an opinion on this story? Put your money where your mouth is and claim a free £25 bet.