Dunne ready for 'biggest game'
Richard Dunne regards the clash with Blackburn as the most important game of his club career.
Last Updated: 04/01/10 8:49pm
Richard Dunne has admitted that Aston Villa's clash with Blackburn on Tuesday is the most important game of his club career.
The Republic of Ireland defender has played in crucial matches at international level but he ranks the Carling Cup semi-final first leg at Ewood Park as one of the most significant since he turned professional at the age of 17.
He has never progressed past the last eight of any major competition with previous clubs Everton or Manchester City and is determined to reach the final of the Carling Cup.
"I've been to a few quarter-finals but every time I thought we've got a chance of getting to Wembley, we have been knocked out," said the 30-year-old.
"There were games where we were expected to win when we were drawn at home but it never happened for whatever reason.
"I was a YTS lad with Everton when they won the FA Cup in 1995. That was a good occasion at Wembley but it seems a million miles away now.
"I think this is the biggest club game of my career. We're getting close to having a chance of getting a trophy and it will be good to look back when I've retired and be able to say that I've won a medal and played at Wembley.
"But, because of my record, I don't even want to think about the possibility of a final. I know how difficult these two games are going to be.
"The opportunity is there but we have to make sure we're 100 per cent right for the two games and that we are still in contention going into the second leg."
Trophy success would also guarantee Villa a place in Europe, although their main target is a UEFA Champions League spot via the Premier League.
However, Dunne added: "No one has mentioned the fact that winning this trophy would get us into Europe.
"The main thing is it is a chance to get a trophy under our belts, although there's still much work to be done."
Villa overcame Blackburn 3-1 in the FA Cup on Saturday but Dunne does not believe the result will have much influence going into the midweek encounter.
He said: "There will be a lot of changes on both sides probably from Saturday and a different style of football.
"I think they will be a lot more direct with their approach on Tuesday and we know how difficult it is."
Andreas Weimann, meanwhile, has signed a contract extension to keep him at Villa until 2012.
The Austrian striker, 18, has performed well for the reserves this season and is regarded as an exciting prospect for the future.
Having come through the youth ranks, he gained some valuable experience in pre-season and featured heavily in Villa's Peace Cup campaign.