By Will Butcher
James Chester believes Aston Villa must learn to take their chances and find the key to keeping clean sheets in order to stop the rot.
The Midlands outfit travel to the north east ahead of Monday night’s clash against Championship title contenders Newcastle, failing to secure a win in their last nine games.
Talking to Villa’s official website, the 28-year-old defender believes Steve Bruce’s side are struggling to secure any kind of form because of these under-par areas of their game.
“Creating chances isn’t an issue at the moment, it’s taking them,” Chester said. “We are also not keeping enough clean sheets at the other end. Hopefully if we keep creating the chances, we will take them.
“I’m also looking at myself in terms of where I can improve. The rest of the lads will be doing the same so we can get out of this mess.”
Villa are yet to win in 2017 and have lost seven of those nine matches, with losses coming against the likes of Barnsley, Nottingham Forest and Brentford.
Keeping just six clean sheets all season, Villa have managed to find the back of the net just 30 times in 31 league outings.
Since his £9million move from rivals West Brom, Chester has tasted victory in claret and blue just eight times despite making 31 league and cup appearances for Villa.
But the Wales international will be hoping to inspire his side against the Toon on Monday night by defying the odds and securing a ninth victory against Rafa Benitez’s side.
Villa were lucky to snatch a point in the reverse fixture, as midfielder Aaron Tshibola scored late on to earn a 1-1 draw at Villa Park back in September.
In other Aston Villa news, this £8million midfielder has been scouted by manager Bruce.