After climbing out of the drop zone with their impressive victory at Stoke last week, Aston Villa now take on a Fulham side with seemingly very little to play for in the knowledge that another three points would be a huge step towards securing their Premier League status.
The problem is that the Villains have often struggled in front of their home fans this season, with Paul Lambert’s young side appearing to buckle under the fearsome pressure of the Villa Park home crowd. However, Villa have shown an ability to take wins against the lesser sides at home, as shown by recent successes against QPR and West Ham.
Lambert could have Ciaran Clark available now that the Irish defender has recovered from the shoulder injury that has sidelined him for the last two matches. However, it would be a surprise to see the Scot deviate from the side that brushed Stoke aside at the Britannia last week, meaning Jordan Bowery could keep his place in attack after impressing in the Potteries last week.
Christian Benteke will certainly lead the line in attack as he searches for his 20th goal of the season, which would make him the first Villa player to do so since Juan Pablo Angel.
Fulham have seemingly secured their Premier League status for another season, currently lying in 10th place on 39 points. However, Martin Jol will be aware that fixtures against Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton to come, a defeat at Villa would leave them only three points ahead of the Midlands-based club and looking over their shoulder once again.
The Cottagers have a doubt over Eyong Enoh after the central-midfielder picked up an ankle injury against Newcastle last week. Elsewhere, Steve Sidwell is suspended while Ahskan Dejagah, who has impressed in recent weeks on the right-wing, is out for the rest of the season with an ankle problem.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Aston