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9 January 2013

Aston Villa’s fans can roar their team to Wembley, says striker Gabby Agbonlahor, ahead of the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Bradford

Aston Villa’s fans can play a key role, says striker Gabby Agbonlahor, in the Premier League team’s bid to reach the Capital One Cup Final, as they look to make the most of home advantage in Tuesday evening’s second leg of the semi-final following their shock 3-1 first leg defeat by Bradford City.  

Villa were stunned by the npower League 2 side, who had already knocked out top flight teams Wigan Athletic and Arsenal in the competition and deserved their first leg win in front of a packed and passionate Valley Parade crowd.

But the backing of the Bantams fans will be surpassed by the Villa faithful, reckons Agbonlahor, as the five-time winners of the competition attempt to reach the Wembley final for the second time in four seasons.

“The Bradford fans were great in the first leg,” said the 26-year-old England international, “but I think they will be in for a shock with the way our fans will be, how loud they will be. We know it’s going to be a great atmosphere and hopefully the fans can be the 12th and 13th man and help us through.”

Villa have previous when it comes to League Cup semi-final comebacks on home turf. In 1994, they overturned a 3-1 deficit to beat Tranmere Rovers on penalties before beating Manchester United in the final, then in 2010 they lost 1-0 at Blackburn Rovers but won 6-4 in a pulsating second leg.

On that second occasion they went on to lose the final to Manchester United – and that makes Agbonlahor even more determined to this time get through to Wembley and collect a winners’, not a runners-up, medal.

“Everyone loves to get to Wembley,” he said, “but that's far from our minds at the moment. We've just got to look at the Bradford game. I remember the semi-final against Blackburn though, and the atmosphere at Villa Park was immense.

“We’re going to need an atmosphere like that again to help us through to the final, but if our fans can give us anything like the support they did against Blackburn that night then hopefully we can get the result.

“It’s not going to be easy, though. We missed a lot of chances in the first leg, but Bradford showed that they’re a decent side and we will certainly respect them. They will be dangerous on the counter-attack and it’s going to be tough, but we'll go in with a game plan and we know what we’ve got to do.”

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