PREVIEW: Derby County away

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Grealish on form against Bolton

Aston Villa will make the relatively short journey to the East Midlands to take on Derby County at Pride Park. Dean Smith will be hoping to pick up his first away Villa as Villa boss following defeats to Norwich and QPR on the road.

A lot has been made of the month of November for Aston Villa. A make or break month some have described it. A win against Frank Lampard’s high flying Derby would really make a statement for Smith’s men.

Our away form this season has been unacceptable. We have failed to win away from Villa Park in the Championship since the opening game of the season against Hull. Since then we have drawn 3 and lost 4. It was Sir Doug Ellis’ funeral yesterday, it would be a great tribute to ‘Mr Aston Villa‘ if we could pick up all three points.

THE OPPOSITION

As you would expect, when Lampard was announced as the new Derby boss in the summer it whipped the media into a frenzy. A legend in his playing days but could he do it as the man in charge? So far, so good for the former Chelsea and England midfielder. Derby currently sits 5th in the Championship just two points off an automatic spot.

Derby are currently on a 6-match unbeaten run which included a 4-1 victory over West Brom at the Hawthorns. Their home form is a match for anyone in the division, having lost one this season, against Leeds United.

Just like Villa, Derby does concede their fair share of goals. They have conceded 17 goals in 16 games, an average of just over 1 per game. Let’s just hope Villa can exploit this because the Rams know how to find the net also, 25 so far this season.

ONE TO WATCH

Jack Marriot is my one to watch in this fixture. The striker scored 27 goals for Peterborough last season in League One. He has taken the step up to the Championship in his stride scoring 4 and assisting 2 in 5 games he has started this season.

It is no real surprise that Whoscored.com state that his strengths are finishing and key balls given his stats. He is known for not being too great in the air which may be good for our defence who hasn’t been great in the air either this season.

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TEAM NEWS

Iceland midfielder Birkir Bjarnason has recovered from a groin injury. He missed the Bolton victory but has trained all week and is in contention to start against Derby.

Keinan Davis has stepped up his rehab following a hip operation a little over a month ago. Smith expects the forward to be back training in the next few weeks.

Derby will be without Mason Mount. Lampard stated that he has been battling to be fit for the encounter but it has come too soon for the midfielder. They will also be without Craig Bryson who is due to return after the International break.

HEAD TO HEAD

Just like against Bolton, this game is a meeting of two of the founding members of the Football League.

Aston Villa edge the head to head battle with 69 wins to Derby’s 44. 25 games have ended in a draw. Villa have lost just 1 in the last 7 meetings between the two sides. Although last season Villa failed to beat them with a win for Derby and the return fixture finishing with a draw.

The first-ever meeting between the two sides ended with a 2-0 with for the Rams. It took place back in 1885 in an FA Cup fixture.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Predicted XI: Nyland; Hutton, Tuanzebe, Chester, Taylor; Bjarnason, McGinn; Adomah, Grealish, Bolasie; Abraham.

Kick Off: 15.00 (GMT)
TV: AVTV (Outside the UK)
Tickets: Villa has sold their allocation. Around 30,000 expected.
Odds: Derby 11/10 Draw 13/5 Villa 11/4 (Bet365)

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