Aston Villa will head up to Yorkshire to come face to face with former boss Steve Bruce for the first time since his sacking. Villa will take on Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough with both sides eyeing up the last two playoff positions.
Dean Smith has spoken recently about taking one game at a time. This game is one of those games that could really be the difference between promotion and another season in the Championship.
Bruce’s teams may not be attractive on the eye but they are usually hard to beat. I don’t expect anything else tomorrow.
Villa currently sits in the final playoff position but with sides in and around us we must really kick on. Wednesday have drawn too many at home this season, 8 in total with just 3 defeats. Smith’s side will certainly have their work cut out.
Sheffield Wednesday has mostly had a season to forget. However, since the appointment of Bruce, they have given themselves an outside chance of making the playoffs. Bruce will tell you he saved them from relegation and gave them promotion hope but let’s not kid ourselves. Wednesday was sitting 16th and waiting for the season to end. Relegation was never really an issue.
It is often said that certain sides in the Championship belong in the Premier League. For me, Sheffield Wednesday are one of those sides. They are certainly the bigger side in Sheffield, in my view (Sorry Blades fans).
Wednesday will look to be solid and play with the ball at the back. Pretty much what you would expect from what we have watched during Bruce’s reign at Villa Park.
Lovre Kalinic is expected to be fit following an injury he picked up on international duty. Following Jed Steer’s error against Blackburn, it will be interesting to see if Smith brings the Croatian back into the first team.
Smith has also told the media that Tommy Elphick, James Chester and Alan Hutton could all play a part before the end of the season. All three have had injury issues but are on the recovery path.
Tom Carroll returned to Swansea this week after being ruled out for the rest of the season with a hip problem.
Bruce has confirmed that Steven Fletcher, Gary Hooper, Fernando Forestieri and Sam Winnall will all be available to play. Rolando Aarons is a doubt with an ankle problem.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Predicted XI: Steer; Elmohammady, Mings, Hause, Taylor; Whelan, McGinn, Grealish; El Ghazi, Adomah; Abraham.
Kick Off: 15.00
TV: AVTV (Outside the UK)
Venue: Hillsborough, Sheffield
Tickets: Sold out
Odds: Sheffield Wednesday 9/4 Aston Villa 11/8 Draw 12/5 (Bet365)