Bannan: Our time is now
Manager Alex McLeish sent out a youthful side to face Hereford in the Carling Cup on Tuesday and was rewarded with a 2-0 victory courtesy of late goals from Eric Lichaj and Nathan Delfouneso. Bannan enjoyed a full 90 minutes of action and was particularly happy for close friend Lichaj. He said: "I was delighted for Eric. He is one of my good mates and I've come through the ranks with him. "Every time he plays for the first team he gives it absolutely everything he's got. "I believe he's improved too and that's no surprise because he's a hard worker. Eric puts everything into training and deserves everything he gets. "Scoring the opening goal against Hereford topped off a great performance from him." The American delighted the Villa fans after breaking his duck for the club by celebrating with the eye-catching "chicken noodle soup dance" - which stems from his time at the University of North Carolina - and laughed off the subsequent mockery which came his way. Lichaj explains: "I always said I would celebrate my first goal with the dance and I just had to do it. "All the lads knew I did this stupid dance which is a big hit on the internet. "I got a bit of stick after the match but it was all fun as scoring my first goal for Villa is the most enjoyable moment of my football career." Bannan was also full of praise for the performances of up-and-coming strikers Delfouneso and Andreas Weimann. It was only after the two young strikers were drafted into the game that Villa scored their two goals and Bannan said: "It is great to have players like them to come on late in the game. "When Darren Bent, Emile Heskey and Gabby Agbonlahor are missing it is brilliant to have these lads to come into the side. They are chomping at the bit to impress and this is brilliant for Aston Villa. "Like a lot of young players at Villa they have come through the youth system and now it is their time to impress." Former Scotland boss McLeish was also suitably impressed with the form of Delfouneso and Weimann and said: "I expect them to be hammering on the door to get into the first team. They have the ability."