Barry targets record start
By Andrew Scurr
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Gareth Barry is aiming to help Aston Villa to better their unbeaten start of six seasons ago.
Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry is aiming to help the club to better their unbeaten start of six seasons ago.
Martin O'Neill's men are the only team yet to taste defeat in The Premiership this term after Everton's unbeaten run came to an end at the weekend.
Villa started the 1998/99 campaign with 12 straight unbeaten fixtures at the start of the season and Barry is targeting an even greater start this time around.
The Midlands club were thankful for the 25-year-old's stunning equaliser ten minutes from time against Tottenham for keeping their chances alive.
Barry admits the start has surprised even themselves but is now aiming to push on and look to beat their current record from the John Gregory era.
"I'd heard Everton had lost after Saturday's game to leave us as the only unbeaten team and it's been a brilliant start," said Barry.
"If people had said at the start of the season we would have been the last unbeaten team, it would have been hard to believe especially with the away fixtures facing us at Arsenal, West Ham and Chelsea.
"That was an unbelievable start we had under John Gregory a few years back and, although we are not top of the league like we were then, we are still collecting the points.
"Can we beat the record? It's a tough ask. There are so many tough teams. The confidence is there and we don't roll over now so it is possible.
"It is maybe a mini target for us to achieve but in between we want to pick up as many points as possible."
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Stuart Taylor hopes he has given O'Neill a headache after his performance against Spurs at the weekend.
Taylor had to be called upon after first choice Thomas Sorensen injured his shoulder on international duty with Denmark.
The former Arsenal keeper pulled off a string of good saves against Martin Jol's men, in his first appearance at Villa Park.
"Obviously it's been a long wait for me. It's not often Thomas gets injured so I have a lot of sitting around and waiting," Taylor said.
"It was finally nice to get a chance to play at home. I just said to myself that I'd go in and do a job. I was happy to do that. I made a couple of decent saves in the first half, but they were saves I'd expect to make.
"It was good to have a decent game on my home debut. I got a bit of stick from the Spurs fans like 'Arsenal reject' but you expect that and it's just part of the game."
Taylor was only beaten by an own goal from Juan Pablo Angel and was quick to defend the striker after his off day.
He added: "Juan has been fantastic this season. He's been holding the ball up tremendously for us. He's been strong and he's scored a few goals for us.
"But every now and then you have one of those days and we've all got to put an arm round him and forget about it.
"The corner came in and I shouted. I came to take a nice easy catch. Juan said: 'I heard you shout, but I just froze'. It's just one of those things."