Date: 20th April 2008 at 9:56am
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Well, here we are, the day of the local derby and one with far more riding on the result than usual (if that is possible!) as the Blues are now in the bottom three and struggling and Villa are still chasing 5th spot and Europe.

Our poll asked for your predictions.

Unsurprisingly, 69% predicted a win with a further 24% voting ‘local derby can go either way… gulp’

That left 3% saying lose, 2% voting loss and 2% with a ‘I’m a bluenose and fear a loss’.

Meanwhile Mark Lawrenson has predicted a 2-0 Villa win telling the BBC site: ‘Villa have had spells when they have struggled for points and have had a long hard season but their home form has been generally good, with a lot of goals, and I expect them to take the bragging rights.’ He also says he thinks Blues will survive with Bolton being relegated.

Martin O’Neill has spoken about the local derby saying: ‘I know how miserable fans are if we get the wrong result in a derby and I would be the same as them. In the immediate aftermath of a defeat you probably cocoon yourself. But then when you realise the number of people you’ve let down, I think that’s when it starts to impact on you. I would say that my view would be the same as every Aston Villa fan. So the best thing to do is try and do something about it during the course of the game.’

Adding, on the official site: ‘I have spoken to fans and as the game gets closer it gets kind of worrying. For instance at the gate to Bodymoor Heath yesterday a supporter told me this was the most important game of the season. You take a gulp and you get on with it!’

He also agrees that there is more pressure as the points count so much for both clubs at this stage of the season.

‘We’re still striving for European football and Birmingham City are looking for points to fight off relegation. I think those things have a bearing on the outcome of today’s game. But during the course of the game I’m not sure if that’s in the minds of players.’

COME ON THE VILLA.