Chelsea v Villa: Captain Clark relishing stand-in skipper role
Ciaran Clark is enjoying his role as stand-in Villa captain - although he insists there is no magic formula to his leadership qualities.
Clark took the armband for the first time in Villa's goalless draw against Stoke when Gabby Agbonlahor went off injured.
With Agbonlahor and regular skipper Ron Vlaar still on the sidelines, the 22-year-old defender kept the captaincy for the wins over Norwich and Liverpool.
It allowed Clark to complete a unique hat-trick of captaining the club at every level from academy to first team.
The Republic of Ireland international is in line to continue in the role for this afternoon's clash at Chelsea with Vlaar and Agbonlahor doubtful.
Clark says his leadership skills came to him naturally at a young age.
"I was captain at youth team and reserve levels," he said.
"It just seems to have happened like that. It doesn't matter who is captain, everybody has to be a leader out there anyway.
"On the pitch I do sort of bark the orders out and stuff, it is just passing on information really, trying to get everybody communicating.
"It is not something that has ever changed in my game.
"I think as I came through the youth team I have just always seemed to do it.
"It is maybe one of those things that just sort of came to me."
Clark insists earning the captaincy was never on his mind - because keeping his place in the team has been his main focus.
"At the start of the season when a new manager comes in you just want to try to get a place in the team and that was my only goal," he added.
"I just wanted to try to get a starting place, I managed to do that and managed to play in all the games which has been a massive bonus to me."
Stamford Bridge has been a happy hunting ground for Clark in the past couple of seasons.
The centre-back was part of the Villa side that won there last term and he scored a last-gasp equaliser in a thrilling 3-3 draw 12 months earlier.
He is in buoyant mood going into the last clash at the home of the Champions League winners.
"I scored there two seasons ago and we won there last year, so hopefully we can take that into the game and stay positive," he said.
"I am sure in training we will be high in confidence and take that in."
Make sure you access the match console for coverage of today's clash.
Go to full match coverage for Chelsea 8 - 0 Aston Villa (23rd December 2012) >
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