Aston Villa talisman Gareth Barry is hoping that the club use their encouraging fightback against Everton as a springboard to finish the season strongly.
The 28-year-old midfielder scored the penalty that completed the home side’s thrilling comeback at Villa Park on Easter Sunday to end a run of four straight defeats with a 3-3 draw.
After several weeks of misery and disappointment, Villa’s spirited performance, which also included goals for John Carew and James Milner, against Everton was a welcome one certainly after the late heartbreak they suffered at Old Trafford.
Now England international Barry is hopeful that Villa’s recent display is a sign of things to come in the club’s remaining six fixtures of this current Premier League campaign.
After a gruelling run that has seen them consecutively take on half of the top flight’s six leading clubs, Villa appear, on paper at least, to have a more straightforward run in for the campaign finale.
West Ham United come to Villa Park on Saturday before the challenge of Bolton Wanderers, Hull City, Fulham, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United awaits.
Champions League qualification now appears to be a dream that has all but faded. However the importance of finishing the season strongly is clear for stand-in captain Barry.
“There are six games and we have to target to win all of them and see where it leaves us,” said Barry. “That’s two good performances we’ve put in and we just managed the one point.
“We’ve got another home game coming up and hopefully the fans will come down again and get right behind us.
“The boys showed a lot of character in the end to get a point (against Everton). The main thing was James Milner’s goal straight away. It was an important time to score after they had just gone 3-1 up.
“We needed to assess the situation for a couple of minutes but ultimately we wanted to win the game.
“After that we could have gone on and won the game. There was only one team who was really going to win it.”
Meanwhile Aston Villa duo Gabby Agbonlahor and Ashley Young are on a six-strong shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
The claret and blue starlets have been nominated alongside Manchester United defenders Johnny Evans and Rafael Da Silva, Manchester City’s Stephen Ireland and Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon.
England international Young, who was named in last year’s Premier League Team of the Year, has once again impressed in the top flight this season with seven goals and eight assists.
Meanwhile hot-shot Agbonlahor has also made the breakthrough into England’s senior squad this season.
The fleet-footed pair could follow in the footsteps of Andy Gray and Gary Shaw, who won the award in 1977 and 1981 respectively.