Aston Villa prepare for what many Villa fans are describing as their biggest derby of the season following Birmingham and Wolves’ absence from the Premier League this season.
Paul Lambert’s team were disappointing in the way they ultimately collapsed at Southampton last week but responded quite magnificently in the League Cup in midweek, when a courageous counter-attacking performance brought progression with a 4-2 victory against a Manchester City team that though weakened, was full of established internationals.
Lambert will know just how important this clash is for the fans but will also want to ensure that his side just moves away slightly from relegation discomfort. Lambert could call upon Brett Holman as the Australian winger has recovered from the knee injury that caused him to miss the victory over City. Elsewhere, Joe Bennet remains a doubt while Stephen Ireland is missing with a broken wrist picked up at Southampton. Up front, Lambert has a decision to make with Christian Benteke, Darren Bent and Gabby Agbonlahor all amongst the goals of late.
West Brom’s impressive start to the season was rather halted somewhat with an early League Cup exit to a Liverpool team full of youngsters but Head Coach Steve Clarke will know that there will be no excuses from the supporters if his team fails to come away with victory from Villa Park.
However, Clarke’s squad has been rather hit by injuries with defenders Liam Ridgewell, Steven Reid and Goran Popov as well as influential midfielder James Morrison all struggling to make the clash with various knocks. Up front, Peter Odemwingie sits out the final game of his three match suspension so Romelu Lukaku could continue to lead the line ahead of Shane Long.