Aston Villa goalkeeper Sam Johnstone excited for Second City derby buzz
By Simeon Gholam
Last Updated: 26/10/17 4:46pm
Sam Johnstone can't wait to feel the buzz again of a derby game as Aston Villa prepare travel to Birmingham on Sunday.
The Villa goalkeeper, who is on loan from Manchester United, will be between the sticks in the Second City derby at St Andrew's for the first time, and it's live on Sky Sports Football.
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"I played in the home fixture last year and straight from the warm-up you felt the buzz around the stadium," the 24-year-old told Sky Sports. "When I see Aston Villa fans out shopping and stuff the games they'll mention are the Birmingham games, it's quickly drilled into you that it's a big game and you obviously want to win to get the bragging rights.
"It won't be the nicest of atmospheres for the Villa players, but we'll take a good amount of away fans and hopefully they'll be louder."
Villa go into the game off the back of a run that has seen them enter the promotion equation, with a defeat at Wolves a fortnight ago the only blot on their record in the last six games.
"It's a massive game and both teams will be up for it," said Johnstone. "I think we've got the better team with more quality and hopefully that will see us through, but in a derby game anything can happen.
"We go into every game wanting to win but this game is a little bit different. We want to do it for ourselves but also for the fans, so we're buzzing just as much as the fans are."
And that run of form has seen them climb into the top six ahead of the rest of the weekend's action, the first time all season they've been in the play-off places. Johnstone, however, says their ambitions are far higher.
"It was a slow start, but the league is difficult and a few wins took us right up the table and now we're in the play-offs," he said. "It's livened up the place around training and it gives us a confidence going into each game.
"The main objective for this season is to get promoted. It's still a little bit early but you want to be up there for the majority of the season anyway. You want to be the team people are scared of and want to beat.
"The games are going to start coming up quickly over Christmas and you can rack up a good amount of points, so hopefully we'll get right up there and stay there until the end of the season.
"It'll obviously be the best thing possible to get promoted to the Premier League, I can't even describe what it would be like but that is the objective and hopefully it happens, not just for me but for the team, my team-mates, the staff and fans. The promotion would really do the club good and get it back where it belongs."
Johnstone has kept goal behind John Terry all season, and described it as a privilege to play alongside the Chelsea legend.
"He's a leader, he's played at the top level for all his career and it's a privilege for us to have him here to learn from," said Johnstone.
"I'll speak to him and he'll give me advice and stuff like that because he's a leader, and hopefully his experience will helps us to keep pushing to get promotion."
And speaking of the future, Johnstone insists he's just enjoying his football and not worrying too much about what the next step will be.
"I'm here until the end of the season and I'm just happy playing at the moment," he said. "Whether it's in January or summer I don't know, but the rest of it will take care of itself."