Venue: Villa Park
Date: Saturday 15th October 2016
Referee: David Coote
Aston Villa: D D D D L
Wolverhampton Wanderers: L W W L L
Last time the two teams met: 21st January 2012 – Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 – Aston Villa 3
A memorable brace for loan signing Robbie Keane and a goal from Darren Bent saw the Villans steal all three points at Molineux after being 2-1 down at half-time.
This time around, Steve Bruce takes charge of his first game as Aston Villa manager after putting pen to paper on his deal on Wednesday evening, with the Villans looking for derby day bragging rights.
The game, which will be live on Sky Sports 1, promises to be an exciting encounter as Walter Zenga’s free-flowing side visits Villa Park in search of a positive result which would stop a run of two defeats.
Bruce will be the big story before the game but the Villa players should be trying to ensure that they put in good performances on the pitch as they look to impress the new manager.
The fifty-five-year-old has already said that this will be another fresh start for all of the Villa squad so those on the fringes like Alan Hutton and Gabby Agbonlahor may well be given the opportunity to show what they can do.
It will be intriguing to see how Bruce lines up and which of the four influential strikers that Di Matteo tried all too often to shoe horn into the same side he selects. Kodjia, Ayew, McCormack and Gestede are all top class strikers at Championship level and the key to the Villans getting the result they crave in Saturday’s derby is getting the mix right.
The visitors will be looking to get back on track after the promising start that they made saw them pick up a win in their previous West Midlands derby this season against Birmingham City.
After having that brilliant experience in his first ever derby in English football, Zenga will be looking to emulate that performance and result tomorrow evening.
Aaron Tshibola will be available for Bruce’s first squad as Villa manager, despite worries over him being suspended after being sent off in the recent Under 23 game against West Bromwich Albion.
Pierluigi Gollini missed the defeat at Preston North End but should be fit for the visit of Wolves.
Jordan Ayew is a doubt with an injury he picked up on international duty with Ghana but is expected to be fit if called upon.
There are no other injury concerns, with long term absentee Ritchie De Laet (knee) the only major casualty.
Wolves may give a start to striker Nouha Dicko after he returned to first team action with a cameo appearance against Norwich City before the international break.
The striker then started the Checkatrade Trophy game for the club’s Under 23 side against Crewe Alexandra and scored two of his side’s three goals in their 3-2 victory.
One to watch:
João Teixeira (pictured) has started the season blowing hot and cold.
On his day, the summer signing from Benfica has shown that he has the ability to dominate in the Championship.
The tricky and technically gifted midfielder made his debut for Benfica in the Champions League so has the big game experience that may come in handy when he enters the lions’ den that is Villa Park.
Known for picking good positions, the Villa defenders will need to be on their toes to make sure that Teixeira’s influence on the game is kept to a minimum, as the midfielder has already found the net twice this season and will be looking to add to his tally.