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Dwight Yorke confesses his emotional ties to Aston Villa run deep but he is desperate to be part of a Sunderland side he hopes will put the Villans to the sword tomorrow.


The veteran midfielder is completely focused on Sunderland's bid to climb the table and he would love to involved in a Black Cats' victory over his former club.

Yorke, who made his name with the West Midlands club during a nine-year stay, told the Echo: "I have great affection for Aston Villa and admiration for them and I always look out for their result at the weekend to see how they've done.

"I was there from 1989-98 which were successful years for the club and it was the platform for me moving on to Manchester United as a result.

"I have some great friends in that neck of the woods, people who are great Villa fans and I'm sure they'll be hoping I'm not playing.

"But I think they'll also appreciate how important the game is to me and to Sunderland and they'll accept that I want to do my level best for Sunderland this weekend in beating Villa."

Yorke knows it will be far from easy against a team which has plenty of matchwinners in it and currently lies just three points behind the fourth Champions League spot.

He said: "We are coming up against a team that have done very well this season and it will be a difficult game because they'll still be high in confidence despite that defeat to Portsmouth last weekend.

"They've had a good run prior to that so I don't think the Pompey defeat will knock them back too much.

"We have to think about ourselves though and work hard to get what would be back-to-back home wins for us.

"We've got home advantage and that will be a big thing but we will still need something special to beat Villa.

"I'm sure though that with the team the manager puts out this weekend, we'll give it a really good go."

Yorke hopes to be part of that team after missing out on the games against Derby County and Chelsea, having played in the 7-1 defeat at Everton.

He said: "It's my old team, which adds a bit of a twist to it and I want to do well against them and get something from them come Saturday.

"I want to play against them but then I want to play in every game and I wasn't happy in terms of not playing last week.

"I don't think the manager expected me to be. But he has to do a job, he has to pick the team and we all have to respect that, even if we're not happy at not playing.

"Hopefully though the two games I've sat out now have left me fresh and raring to go and I know the manager knows that. With a bit of luck that I can come back in and play the holding role that I've been playing since before I was injured.

"I would love to be involved tomorrow and I think it's a game we can all look forward to because we know what an important game it is for Sunderland and what an opportunity it is to help the club climb the table.

"It's backs-to-the-wall stuff at the moment but it's also very close between teams at the bottom as well. And we know that one good result will put you right up towards mid-table and give us that bit of breathing space.

"That has to be our incentive going into this game. We did it against Derby County in our last game and it helped us up the table, we have to look at doing exactly the same against Aston Villa tomorrow."

That's good to know. Ah was calling dem dis morning tuh find out if dey make de delivery. If is not too much trouble, it would be good to do an inventory of the food collected, so we know exactly what we're giving. It's kinda like keeping score.