Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has warned his team mates the success of their season hangs in the balance.

The 23-year-old Germany international is quitting Villa Park in the summer on a free transfer to join Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart.

But the left-footed midfielder is anxious to leave Villa on a positive note by helping David O'Leary's side qualify for the Uefa Cup.

Villa have to finish seventh to do so - they are ninth with three games remaining - and Hitzlsperger believes their campaign will only be deemed a success if they secure European football for next season.

He said: "Last year was a good year for Villa. We finished sixth and the manager did a great job to get us there.

"This season we are sort of mid-table but we still have something to play for. If we qualify for the Uefa Cup then it has been a good season.

"It all depends on the last three games. Hopefully we will do well and qualify for the Uefa Cup."

With games against eighth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool remaining, Villa could conceivably beat off competition from Spurs and Middlesbrough to claim seventh spot and qualify for Europe.

Hitzlsperger said: "If we win all our games we are almost certainly there so it is all in our hands in my opinion and we have to do everything we can to win the last three games.

"We have certainly got to beat Spurs on Sunday because it is a vital game - we are going there to win.

"I watched Spurs on Monday against Arsenal when they lost 1-0 but they are a good team.

"We have got to be aware of that but we beat them at Villa Park earlier in the season and hopefully we will beat them again because we will go above them and it would set us up for the last few games."

Villa will be boosted by the return of Liam Ridgewell from suspension for their trip to White Hart Lane.

Eric Djemba-Djemba is also likely to return to the squad after playing for the reserves in midweek, but Hitzlsperger is anxious to retain his place and play in Villa's remaining matches before he returns to Germany.

He said: "I am looking forward to the next two-andahalf weeks. Hopefully I will get some more chances in the team.

"I have played the previous three games and hopefully the manager will get me in the team again. If he does I can only thank him for that because I really want to do well before I leave."

While Hitzlsperger is preparing to say his farewells at Villa, O'Leary is busy compiling a list of transfer targets.

The Villa manager was again linked with Sheffield United's Phil Jagielka yesterday, while sources in Scotland last night suggested Rangers striker Dado Prso is also a target.

The 6ft 2in Croatian striker, aged 30, has scored 22 goals for Rangers this term after joining on a free from Monaco last May, but the Glasgow club are apparently willing to sell him for a fee of around £3.5 million.

Rangers manager Alex McLeish is planning an overhaul of his squad and Prso could be on his way.

However, Sheffield United appear considerably less enthusiastic about the prospect of selling 22-year-old Jagielka to Villa.

United vice-chairman Terry Robinson said: "As far as we know Aston Villa have been interested Jagielka for the last two or three years.

"But the position at Sheffield United is quite clear. We are aiming to get promotion to the Premier League and you don't do that by getting rid of your best players."