Venue: New York Stadium
Date: Saturday 4th March 2017
Referee: Stephen Martin
Rotherham United: L D L L L
Aston Villa: L L L W W
Last time the two teams met: 27th August 2016 – Aston Villa 3-0 Rotherham United
Rudy Gestede scored a brace and Jack Grealish got his first professional goal at Villa Park in a comfortable victory.
The Villans have not won three games on the spin since the days of Martin O’Neill, a feat that Bruce’s boys will be looking to erase when they visit Yorkshire today.
Back-to-back home victories against Derby County and Bristol City have seen the Villans turn around their form and move nine points clear of the relegation zone.
Tuesday’s win against Bristol City not only put more distance between the two clubs but also showed how resilient the boys in claret and blue can be. Bruce’s side threw bodies on the line and gave everything. If they replicate this today, they should hopefully be looking at another three points.
Once again the victory was built on the defensive combination of James Chester and Nathan Baker, who managed their second successive clean sheet for the first time this season on Tuesday. With Sam Johnstone having his best game in a Villa shirt so far, the defensive side of the Villans’ game suddenly looks a lot better.
Conor Hourihane came on to replace Gary Gardner in the first half of the mid-week victory and scored his first goal for the club with a close range strike. The industrious midfielder showed what he can bring to the side, picking up the ball numerous times and playing killer balls in behind the defence for Jonathan Kodjia. His part could well be crucial in breaking down a Rotherham United side that has an horrendous defensive record.
The Millers come into the game after picking up just one point (and conceding twenty-one goals) from their last eight games.
Currently sixteen points off safety, Paul Warne’s side looks almost certain for a place in League One next season.
Leandro Bacuna is serving the second game of his six-match ban for pushing a match official in the victory against Derby County.
Conor Hourihane will return to the starting line-up but Gary Gardner and André Green will miss the game after coming off injured in Tuesday’s victory.
Micah Richards should be in the Villa match day squad after recovering from a knee injury that he sustained in October’s draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Strikers Scott Hogan, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Gabby Agbonlahor are all missing through injury.
The hosts will be missing goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell as he requires a second scan on a finger injury.
Joel Ekstrand, Darnell Fisher and Richard Wood will be sidelined due to knee, hamstring and groin injuries respectively.
One to watch:
Tom Adeyemi (pictured) is an attacking midfielder who loves to get into the box and sniff out a goal-scoring opportunity.
He is currently on loan to the Millers from Cardiff City and has scored five times in twenty-one games for the club.
The former Birmingham City player was highly rated when he left St. Andrew’s but has struggled to really impress. If he is on his game, he could prove to be an interesting test for the Villa back line.