Football: Oakes Is Consoled by Villa's Struggles

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Byline: Ged Scott

Aston Villa old boy Michael Oakes returns to his previous footballing home tomorrow, strangely comforted by the fact that his former side are down in the depths, struggling with his present one.

It's not that the ex-Villa reserve goalkeeper bears his old side any malice, just that it further helps demonstrate the sheer size of the task facing Wolverhampton Wanderers in their attempt for Premiership survival when they see the likes of Villa struggling with them.

'We're playing against the best every week,' says Oakes, who has been left pretty much helpless in seeing ten goals fly past him in Wolves' last two games, the 5-1 Carling Cup defeat at Arsenal and last week's Robbie Keane-inspired 5-2 reverse at Tottenham.

'The fact that teams like Villa, Everton and Leeds are down there underlines just how tough it is for everybody.

'I'm surprised at the way Villa have under-achieved this season but then, after what happened to West Bromwich Albion last season, we always knew it was going to be an uphill struggle in this league.'

Oakes is confident, however, that Wolves are still capable of beating the drop.

'Everyone is disappointed with our results,' he said. 'But it's not as if we've been cast adrift.

'We've already put one run together to get out of the bottom three and we can do it again.

'If that chance for Henri Camara at 2-1 last week had gone in, it might have been a different story.

'We had hoped for a result down at Tottenham but, after getting into a pretty good position, we allowed them to get on top towards the end and the final result didn't really give a good reflection of how we had played. …