Eric Black wants Aston Villa to bow out of the Premier League in a positive fashion against Arsenal after their nightmare season.
Villa will bid farewell to the top flight at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, having had their inevitable relegation confirmed with a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United a month ago.
Black, who stepped in when Remi Garde left the club at the end of March, has seen his side start to make progress in their last two matches, coming within minutes of winning at Watford before losing 3-2 to two late goals and then holding Newcastle – who will join Villa in the Championship next season – to a goalless draw last Saturday.
That stalemate with the Magpies halted a club-record equalling 11-game losing run and Black is looking for his team to take another small step forward against the Gunners.
“We need to be disciplined and show an immense amount of energy. We must be switched on,” said Black.
“The game means something to Arsenal – and it certainly should mean something to us too. It’s a big challenge this weekend but one we are looking forward to.”
Villa head to north London with a few injury issues. Alan Hutton and Ciaran Clark are fresh concerns with calf and ankle problems respectively while fellow defender Kieran Richardson remains a doubt with the calf complaint that has ruled him out recently.
However, Aly Cissokho is available again after suspension while striker Rudy Gestede has resumed training after a groin injury ruled him out last weekend.
Sunday’s game will be Black’s last in charge of Villa, who remain in the process of appointing a new manager, and the 52-year-old Scot is unsure what the future holds for him when the final whistle blows at the Emirates.
He said: “I spoke to the chairman on Friday morning and he thanked me for keeping the ship going. But come Sunday, I’ll just wait and see what happens.“