Venue: John Smith’s Stadium
Date: Tuesday 7th March 2017
Referee: Darren Bond
Huddersfield Town: W D W D L
Aston Villa: L L W W W
Last time the two teams met: 16th August 2016 – Aston Villa 1-1 Huddersfield Town
Ross McCormack grabbed his first goal for the club before an error from Pierluigi Gollini saw emergency striker Michael Hefele bundle in an 86th minute equaliser.
Not only did the Villans break their away day hoodoo at the weekend but they also recorded three wins on the bounce for the first time since 2010. Bruce’s boys will be looking to continue that fine upturn in form when they travel to promotion-chasing Huddersfield this evening.
A lot has changed in just over a week: the side has moved from six points off the relegation zone to eleven points clear and Bruce’s boys now look reasonably placed to focus on building for a hopeful promotion push next season.
Recent performances have shown that the signings made in January are starting to gel with the rest of the side – and the results have reflected this. Conor Hourihane is one player who has really impressed in the last game and a half. He grabbed his first goal for the club after coming on as a substitute in the victory over Bristol City and he followed that up with an impressive performance against Rotherham United. His balance and ability to thread through incisive balls are things the Villa has been lacking for a number of seasons. If he can carry on this recent form then he will be instrumental to the side.
The Terriers come into the game after a disappointing defeat at home to Newcastle United. That will be playing on their minds, as they lost ground on closing the gap to their hosts. They are currently six points off Brighton and Hove Albion, the team sitting second, and, with the Seagulls away to Rotherham United, the Terriers will be pushing hard to get all three points.
Birkir Bjarnason and Jack Grealish are both out after coming off in Saturday’s victory with knee injuries.
Bjarnason looks set to miss the rest of the season after injuring his ligaments, whilst his replacement Grealish went off the pitch ten minutes later with a cut.
Leandro Bacuna is serving the third game of his six-match ban for pushing a match official in the victory against Derby County.
Strikers Scott Hogan, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Gabby Agbonlahor are all missing through injury.
The hosts will be missing midfielder Sean Scannell and Casey Palmer through injury, whilst goalkeeper Danny Ward and midfielder Philip Billing are also doubts after coming off during the weekend’s defeat.
One to watch:
Aaron Mooy (pictured) is an industrious midfielder who runs the midfield for the hosts.
He is currently on loan to the Terriers from Manchester City and has imposed himself as one of the most exciting players in the league this season.
The Australian will be well known to Villa’s Mile Jedinak from international duty and Tuesday’s game could hinge on the battle that the Australian duo have on the pitch.