The least overworked man at Villa Park over the last few games must be the bloke who announces the goal times.

Thanks to successive goalless draws against Fulham and West Bromwich Albion, and the tight 1-0 victory over Portsmouth that preceded them, most of Aston Villa's goal-starved fans have had just one moment of celebration to admire in their past 270 minutes of football.

But Villa midfielder Gavin McCann warns that this Sunday's derby clash with Birmingham City may not be the sort of occasion for the floodgates to be reopened.

Blues may have been humiliated on their own patch by shipping seven goals against Liverpool just three weeks ago. But they have turned a corner since. And, even with the badly missed James Milner fit to return, a Villa side who have scored just twice in six games without him, hardly look equipped to start rattling them in.

"Had one of those shouts not gone our way against West Brom on Sunday and we'd lost to a penalty, it would have been terrible for us," said McCann.

"But a draw was not a bad result and neither would it be against Blues, given where we both are in the league.

"Sunday is a big game, even if we weren't where we are in the league. But even more so now.

"If you get beat and have to walk off past their fans, it's a sickener. But it will be another typical derby. Hard, competitive and probably crap, like the West Brom game was."

Without putting any pressure on him, McCann admits that it would be rather handy if Kevin Phillips could continue that habit of scoring against local rivals which has helped earn him extra popularity with Watford, Sunder-land, Southampton and now Villa too.

"It's a derby," said McCann. "And he always scored in derbies, doesn't he? He got the one down there [at St Andrew's] and the good

thing is he's starting to get chances again. And Milan Baros will all the better for having come back and had 90 minutes last week.

"But all four of our strikers are fit and raring to go and they can play a big part.

"You can defend and defend but, if you don't score, you run the risk of getting beat

"But we did well down there and handled big Heskey well up front, and really it doesn't matter who they've got. As long we play all right, we'll be all right."

McCann does admit, though, that Villa cannot afford a repeat of the sloppy finishing that so turned their season at Ewood Park early last month. Had Villa got the result they deserved that night against Blackburn Rovers a frustrating campaign could have taken an entirely different twist.

"We battered them," said McCann. "But then suddenly it's backs to the wall, and it's a case of 'What's going on at Villa?'

"Players can sometimes feel when you're playing that well and still getting beat of 'What's the point?' But we've stuck at it and, although we've taken a lot of flak on the way, the fans have stayed with us and a couple more points will allow us to get this season out of the way."