Barry Bannan has appealed to Alex McLeish to restore him to Villa’s starting line-up so he can “make things happen for the club and the fans”.
The Scottish midfield playmaker has mostly had to settle for cameo appearances from the subs bench since his conviction for drink-driving last November.
But Bannan is determined to be a first-team regular for the claret and blues and add to his seven league and cup starts this season.
“I want to show the gaffer what I can do,” he said. “By the end of the season, hopefully, I want to be one of the first names on the team sheet. That’s what I’m aiming for – you have to aim high, otherwise there’s no point.
“I’m just hoping to get a chance to force my way in, and stay there.It doesn’t matter how old you are, any footballer wants to be starting games.”
Overall, since his senior Villa debut in a UEFA Cup tie at Hamburg in 2008, Bannan has now made 22 starts and 21 substitute appearances. He has been relatively pleased with his recent contributions after stepping off the bench, but the 22-year-old wants to make more of an impact.
“I always look to impress when I go on, whether it’s for five minutes or for the second half, like I did at Newcastle,” he said. “I just want to get on the ball and make things happen for the club and for the fans. There’s more to come from me. I feel I’ve done okay whenever I’ve come on but I need to be doing a bit more to force my way into the team. I don’t think I’ve done myself any harm with my performances in the last few games but I I know I can do better.”
Bannan has been at Villa since he was a 14-year-old schoolboy and admits the claret and blues now rival boyhood club Celtic for his affections.
“I’ve been here for eight years now,” he added. “I was a boyhood fan of Celtic and I could have joined their academy, but when I heard that Villa were interested I wanted to test myself down here. It’s the best decision I could have made and I’m now a Villa supporter as well. This has become my club.”