Date: Saturday 14th January 2017
Referee: Tony Harrington
Wolves: L W W L D
Aston Villa: L W W D L
Last time the two teams met: 15th October 2016 – Aston Villa 1 – 1 Wolves
A Jonathan Kodjia penalty saw Villa get a share of the spoils in Steve Bruce’s first game in charge of the club.
After defeat to Cardiff City in their last league game and being knocked out of the FA Cup at White Hart Lane last Sunday, the Villans will go into this evening’s game against their local rivals looking to bounce back and keep their play-off hunt on track.
The determination that the players showed in deservedly holding Spurs to a draw for such a long time last weekend should give them encouragement as they make the short trip up the M6 to Molineux.
Bruce’s side will be hoping that derby day allows them to turn their poor away form, which has seen the Villans win only twice on the road this season, around. The Villans have an impressive record at Molineux, unbeaten in nine games there. However, having lost three of their last four away games without scoring, Kodjia’s absence will be a worry against a Wolverhampton Wanderers side that scored thirteen goals in December.
The fans may have hoped for additional signings to join Sam Johnstone, who could make his league debut at Molineux, ahead of the game but these have yet to materialise so the team is still light in some areas, especially in attack as Bruce only has Ross McCormack and Gabby Agbonlahor to choose from in terms of experienced professionals.
The hosts, managed by former Villa boss Paul Lambert, have come into a little bit of form themselves recently. After their surprise win against Stoke City in the FA Cup last weekend, Lambert will be hoping they continue that form so that he gets one over on his old club.
Bruce is still without influential striker Jonathan Kodjia, who is on international duty with the Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Jordan Ayew is also on international duty. The Ghana international has struggled to impress at the club this season but is still a very big miss.
Nathan Baker has recovered from a back injury and should be availabe for selection.
There should not be any other major injury concerns for the visitors, except for long-term absentees, Ritchie De Laet and Micah Richards.
Young striker Rushian Hepburn-Murphy is not expected to feature as he is yet to sign a new deal.
Sam Johnstone, who impressed on his Villa debut against Tottenham Hotspur, is expected to start in goal.
The hosts will welcome back Ivan Cavaleiro and Prince Oniangue from a knee injury and illness respectively.
Romain Saiss is on international duty with Morocco.
Michal Zyro (knee ligaments), Silvio (foot) and former Villan Jordan Graham (knee ligaments) are all sidelined.
Goalkeeper Andy Lonergan’s knee injury remains a concern.
One to watch
Helder Costa (pictured) was influential in the 1-1 draw at Villa Park and was unplayable at times.
His magic feet and ability to go inside or outside of a defender are exactly why he is regarded as such a promising young talent by his parent club, Benfica.
He caused the Villa defenders problem after problem during his appearance at Villa Park in October and Bruce’s back four will need to make sure that they do not let afford him the same freedom this evening.
If Costa plays on the right hand side, he will come up against Jordan Amavi and could provide the Frenchman with his toughest test since returning from injury earlier this season.
Tribute to Graham Taylor
Following the sad news of the sudden death of Sir Graham Taylor on Thursday, it was announced that all English clubs will hold a minute’s applause in the former England manager’s memory this weekend.
Since he managed both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa, the clubs will mark his passing with an additional pre-match tribute involving former players. All supporters are asked to be seated in good time to pay their respects to one of the game’s true gents.