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Sunderland midfielder Gardner ready for Aston Villa return

Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner is putting sibling rivalry aside when he faces brother Gary's Aston Villa this weekend.

It's a big game for both sides, with Villa desperate to move away from the relegation zone having been dragged into the lower reaches of the table.

Sunderland, meanwhile, are looking to secure a second consecutive top-10 finish and currently sit at the head of a congested mid-table group with just a single point separating ninth and 14th.

"We need the points at this stage and so do Villa," Gardner senior told "We want to finish as high as we can and they want to make sure they are safe.

"It is a game of football at the end of the day. Yes, I could be playing against my brother but I'm not overly concerned about that. It's another football player I'm playing against.

"It's good, but the points are more important. Hopefully we both play and have a good crack at it."

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