The fourth round of the FA Cup sees the goal-shy Villans face the free-scoring Cherries, who have scored more than five times as many goals as the boys in claret and blue. In fact, they have scored more goals in Birmingham than their Premier League opponents, which is embarrassing to say the least.
After a 1-0 loss to Leeds United earlier in the week, Sunday’s visitors to Villa Park currently sit one point ahead of Middlesbrough at the top of the Championship table.
While promotion will undoubtedly be the priority for Eddie Howe’s players, they will still be keen to advance in the FA Cup this Sunday when they travel to Villa Park. The Cherries have never progressed further than the quarter-final stage of the knockout competition, a feat they achieved back in 1957 when the Villans last lifted the FA Cup, and last reached the fifth round in 1989.
Having reached the last eight of the League Cup this season, obliterating the Millers is the third round of the FA Cup and enjoying fine form in the Championship, the Bournemouth boys will be confident of causing an upset, particularly when the Villans have been knocked out of the FA Cup by lower league opposition in each of the last two seasons.
As the visitors seek to bounce back from their first away defeat in ten games, Lambert will be hoping the elusive goals actually do come against a team with just one clean sheet in fourteen cup ties and that his players can secure a morale-boosting win to spare him any more blushes.
Recent form (all competitions):
Aston Villa: L L W D D
AFC Bournemouth: L W L W W
Clark will be available for selection after his suspension.
Kozak (leg), Senderos (calf) and Vlaar (knee) will all miss this match.
Agbonlahor and Cole (both hamstring) are doubtful and will be assessed tomorrow morning.
Given is expected to start.
Lambert is considering handing Gil, who impressed against Liverpool last weekend, his first start, saying, “He’s been really good in training. He has a low centre of gravity, the ball sticks to his feet. He makes things happen, he’s exciting and the lads want to give him the ball because of the way he is.”
Hutton Okore Clark Cissokho
Sanchez Westwood Delph
Referee: Mike Dean
Venue: Villa Park
Ticket availability: Good availability for home fans, priced from £10 to £20 for adults
Last meeting:5th March 1988: AFC Bournemouth 1 – Aston Villa 2
1-1 Mark Lawrenson
1-1 Dion Dublin