Villa may require a point to ensure Premiership football next season but their campaign is ostensibly finished.

There is a distinct end-of-season feel to their final three fixtures as a disappointing campaign threatens to peter out to an unsatisfactory end.

David O'Leary, the Villa manager, is acutely aware of the sense of frustration permeating Villa Park after a campaign that has garnered only five home wins.

However, he is determined to sweep aside any lethargy displayed by his players with distinctly winnnable home fixtures on the horizon.

Manchester City arrive at Villa Park tonight having had seven defeats in their last eight Premiership fixtures.

They are only one point and one place higher than Villa in the Premiership and their last victory came against O'Leary's side in an FA Cup replay last month.

Despite Villa's indifferent form against City this season, O'Leary believes they have unfinished business to attend to.

"We have owed Manchester City one for quite some while, as I don't think our record against them over the years has been great," O'Leary said yesterday.

"Ever since I have been here it has been wishy-washy.

"I want to catch teams and we can go ahead of Manchester City. It's in our hands tomorrow night.

"Thye've been on a run recently and Stuart Pearce has probably gone from being flavour of the month which happens over the course of a season.

"I would love to finish with two home wins and six points but, I still think for myself, it has been a disappointing season

"Everyone was on a high after beating Birmingham but it is disappointing because of the bigger picture I want for this football club.

"We have all been very inconsistent and I would say that Steven Davis has been our most consistent player. But we all know that we can raise our game.

"This is the biggest summer for this club for a long time."

While O'Leary's eyes are firmly fixed on his long-term blueprint for success he has to deal with the immediate.

Olof Mellberg and Wilfred Bouma return to the squad but Davis is still ruled out with a hamstring strain.

While the Villa manager was offering no hints regarding his starting line-up he may opt to freshen up the team that lost at Wigan in order to stamp out any lethargy.

"This time of year you get that without a doubt," O'Leary said in response to a question about any end-ofsseason feelings.

"You have been on the go since July. In general, you are doing the same sort of warm-up and you are trying to keep everyone as upbeat as possible.

"You are trying to keep them focused and on the go.

"You try to detect if there is an undercurrent among the World Cup players and are they thinking about he World Cup? People are saying on the training ground 'There's two weeks to go'.

"However, my incentive going into the game is that we go above Manchester City if we win."

Gary Cahill and Liam Ridgewell have run the whole gamut of emotions during the last ten days. The youthful central defensive partnership received a plethora of plaudits after their role in the home victory over Birmingham.

Yet they came under scrutiny during the 3-2 defeat at Wigan Athletic last Tuesday.

O'Leary concedes that inconsistency is a trait of young footballers that will only be cured with perseverance, saying: "They played very well against the Blues, as they had two experienced big brutes in Sutton and Heskey.

"The last 20 minutes of the first half their front two were using their experience and causing them problems. Birmingham are very direct and that central defensive position is important but they got a grip of it in the second half.

"But you saw the other side of kids against Wigan when there was a dip. We gave bad goals away and that is the learning process. However, all the kids we have had to put it in have done well.

"I was very Impressed with Gabriele Agbonlahor in the second half against Wigan and I'd like to give him an extended run."