Aston Villa v West Ham – Match preview and team news

Aston Villa are searching for three points that would go some way towards relieving the pressure on their ailing squad and manager. The Villains currently lie in 19th place, two points shy of safety, but are at the bottom of the Premier League form table with only three points taken, all draws away from home, in 2013.

West Ham secured a much needed three points at home to Swansea last week, firmly dragging them away from the relegation mire and into the calmer waters of mid-table.

Villa could be without midfielder Ashley Westwood after the former Crewe player picked up a virus but that loss could be compensated by the returns of Karim El Ahmadi and Fabian Delph from knee injuries, with recent signing Yacouba Sylla ready to make his debut for the club. Joe Bennett will undergo a late fitness test but Chris Herd, Marc Albrighton, Richard Dunne and Stillian Petrov are all long-term absentees.

West Ham are still without Modibo Maiga, who is with Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa while defenders James Collins (hamstring) and George McCartney (knee) remain absent. Guy Demel should be fit while after scoring only his second goal for the club last week, Andy Carroll should be selected ahead of Marouane Chamakh and Carlton Cole.

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