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Holman ready for Reading test

27 November 2012-PA Sport

Brett Holman Aston Villa Reading

Confident ... Aston Villa's Brett Holman (Getty Images)

Brett Holman believes Aston Villa can take confidence from its performances against Manchester United and Arsenal ahead of Tuesday evening's (Wednesday morning AEDT) home clash with fellow struggler Reading.

Villa was edged out 3-2 by United after leading 2-0 and came within inches at the weekend of defeating Arsenal when Holman's shot hit the bar during the latter stages of the goalless draw.

The midlands club climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone for 24 hours with that share of the spoils but dropped back below the safety line after Southampton's victory over Newcastle United.

When asked how much being in the bottom three was a talking point, Holman said: "Not at all really. Everyone knows about it but we never really spoke about it in the dressing room.

"It's still early doors. Obviously, everyone knows what situation we are in. We are all grown-ups and we have all been around the block.

"We need to grit out teeth, get stuck in and do things correctly.

"Considering the previous two matches were lost, the point against Arsenal has given us a good boost ahead of Tuesday.

"I think we can look back at the games against United and Arsenal and say we are doing well. We need to sort our away form out, but it's looking better."

Australia international Holman is confident Villa has the capabilities to come out on top against the Royals, particularly if it is as solid defensively as against the Gunners.

He said: "It's a big game, whichever way you put it, and it's up to us to do things similarly to against Arsenal, certainly defensively.

"I think we have enough quality and talent to easily nick a goal.

"But the game plan at the weekend was to keep things tight especially when you think in the previous two games we had conceded eight goals.

"It was important not to concede. It was good, it was refreshing and I don't think Brad Guzan had to make a lot of saves.

"The way we have been playing, we have looked likely to nick a point but it was important we kept a clean sheet."

Holman was named Australia's player of the year last week and now has his sights on regaining his place in the starting line-up at Villa.

He said: "I think every player wants to be in the starting XI, young or experienced.

"It's my goal and hopefully I can do it sooner rather than later."

Villa manager Paul Lambert insists he has faith in his players.

He said: "When you play Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal in back to back games it's a tough thing mentally.

"But I thought against United we were excellent and we deserved something from the Arsenal game.

"I see the lads training every day and the way they perform I don't have a problem.

"Reading is a massive game but I think every game is. I never view any game differently. I think the Premier League is unforgiving.

"Tuesday will be a tough game but we're playing well."

Lambert will return to the dugout after serving a one-match touchline ban against the Gunners.

Villa skipper Ron Vlaar is doubtful to face the Royals after the central defender suffered a calf injury against Arsenal and was substituted early in the second half.

If he is ruled out, then Matt Lowton is likely to switch to partnering Ciaran Clark at the heart of the defence with Eric Lichaj being recalled at right-back.

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