Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Date: Monday 2nd January 2017
Referee: Andy Davies
Cardiff City: D D W L D
Aston Villa: W L W W D
Last time the two teams met: 26th November 2016 – Aston Villa 3 – 1 Cardiff City
Goals from Albert Adomah, Jonathan Kodjia and Rudy Gestede ensured a comfortable victory. Rickie Lambert grabbed the Cardiff City goal.
The Villans will be hoping to start 2017 with an away victory after a terrible year on the road in 2016.
The Villans only managed two away victories in 2016 and, with Bruce’s side currently enjoying a great run of form, the players will go to Cardiff full of confidence that they can start this year better.
Thursday night’s thrilling draw against Leeds United showed that the side has the character to fight back against one of the form teams in the division. Bruce will be looking for his players to replicate that desire in tomorrow’s game against a team struggling at the other end of the table.
Cardiff City currently sits three points off the bottom three in twenty-first place and will be looking at their visitors’ away record and thinking that this is a game they can possibly pick up the points from that would move them further away from danger.
Managed by Neil Warnock, Cardiff City will be looking to stiffle Villa’s attacking ability with the physical style that all Warnock sides are set up to have. They will think that the game plan that they had when they came to Villa Park in the previous encounter worked well for most of the game. It was a piece of magic by Jonathan Kodjia and a late penalty from Rudy Gestede that meant Aston Villa took all three points.
Villa look set to be without Jonathan Kodjia for the trip to Wales. Kodjia is set to meet up with Ivory Coast for the Africa Cup of Nations tomorrow and although Villa asked for Kodjia to be able to stay and travel after the game, the national side have not given permission.
Jordan Ayew will be available after Ghana granted permission for the forward to stay for the game.
Jack Grealish hobbled out of Thursday’s game with an injury picked up in the first half and looks to be a doubt for the trip due to a dead leg.
The hosts could welcome back former Villa midfielder Peter Whittingham and defender Lee Peltier. Whittingham has been suffering from a calf strain, whilst Peltier has been missing with a thigh problem.
One to watch
Aron Gunnarsson (pictured) is a hard-hitting midfielder, who controls the way that his side plays the game.
Leading by example in his physical approach, he is incredibly hard to play against when he is on form.
Alongside his defensive ability, he also offers an attacking weapon in the form of his tremendous long throw – a throw that England fans know all about from Euro 2016.
The Villa defend err swill need to be switched on if Cardiff City get any opportunities within throwing distance. Nathan Baker stature will be useful for combating the effectiveness of Cardiff City’s not-so-secret weapon.