By Dan Harrison
Gabby Agbonlahor wants to regain his status as derby day king against West Brom on Sunday - after admitting his midweek cup heroics have left him feeling stronger than ever.
Agbonlahor boasts an impressive record in West Midlands derbies with six goals overall against Birmingham City, West Brom and Wolves.
The Erdington-born striker marked his first start of the campaign with a stunning two-goal display in Tuesday night's Capital One Cup triumph at Manchester City.
After being plagued by niggling injuries over the past two seasons, Agbonlahor feels he is getting back to his best.
Now he is eager to take the momentum from his Eastlands performance into the Baggies clash.
"For me that performance was good for me to reassure people," he said.
"You see critics saying 'he is not the same player' and this and that.
"It was good for me to show that I am that same player.
"For me personally I've improved, I've got more mature, I've learned different things and I can prove critics wrong.
"Everyone knows I am a striker looking at the game on Tuesday and I want to play.
"Obviously competition for places is high and if you get told you've got to play somewhere else then you will.
"For me being a striker over the years that is my preferred position."
Agbonlahor admits Villa are eager to show they are the region's top dogs again by winning this weekend's derby duel.
The Baggies finished above Villa for the first time in 33 years last term and also recorded their first Villa Park victory since 1979.
"From our point of view we are disappointed about last season but the best thing we can do is try and put that right," said Agbonlahor.
"But we know it is going to be tough. They are a good side, they have squad there that has been together for a few seasons where as we have got a new squad.
"But if we do the right things and fight for each other then we have got a chance.
"They are an established side. A few years ago they were going up and down and now they are established in the Premier League.
"It is going to be hard for us to try and get a result on Sunday but as long as we do the right things we've got a chance."
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