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Sherwood stresses importance of 'intense' Birmingham derby

Tim Sherwood has urged his players to be aware of the importance of Aston Villa's derby against rivals Birmingham City in the League Cup.

The Premier League side welcome their Championship opponents to Villa Park on Tuesday in the third round having lost their last two matches.

Only Ciaran Clark and Gabriel Agbonlahor are still on Villa's books from the last time the two sides met in a derby - a 1-1 Premier League draw back in January 2011.

Sherwood is keen to stress to the newer players in his squad how important the game is and is expecting a fierce battle.

"This means an awful lot - it is not just a normal game," he said. 

"You can only convince them of that by talking to them and then the experienced players in the dressing room, who are experienced in local derbies, can help them along.

"It is going to be intense. It is a big game and one that I think a lot of them can handle. The ones I think can handle it will be on the pitch.

"It means an awful lot to the fans but it means a lot to us in the dressing room too, at this moment in time, because we need to experience that winning feeling again.

"I am not used to losing as many games as we have. Like all derbies, intense ones, I think you need to keep focused and to stick to the plan. 

"We need to impose ourselves on a very organised Birmingham side. We expect blood and thunder, but we need 11 players on the pitch come the end of the game."

Villa beat Notts County 5-3 after extra time in a thrilling second-round clash to reach this stage, while Birmingham defeated Bristol Rovers and Gillingham.