Aston Villa are due to entertain Burton Albion at the Villa Park on Saturday after their 0-1 away win at the Bramall Lane against Sheffield United last weekend. The Villans are very much in the race for promotion to the top flight, having garnered 53 points from 29 games in the Championship so far.
Although Jonathan Kodjia, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Chris Samba are ruled out of the fixture, Villa do have the necessary depth in their ranks and thus, the absence of the aforesaid trio shouldn’t be a huge cause of concern. Here is how we expect Bruce to field his starting line-up against Nigel Clough’s troops.
Bruce has been reluctant to tinker with the central defensive partnership of John Terry and James Chester and the duo could feature together once again this weekend. These two have been able to inject the requisite resilience into the side and must continue to do so if they are to carry this momentum into the business end of the tournament.
Sam Johnstone is expected to be handed the gloves once again. The 24-year-old has 13 clean sheets to his name from 29 appearances and has been quite decent between the sticks. While Alan Hutton is anticipated to start from the left-back position, Ahmed El Mohamady is likely to be pencilled at the right-back slot once again.
Birkir Bjarnason is likely to sit deep to shield the backline and of late, he has been able to muster commendable outings. He has appeared to be an astute reader of the game and the manner in which he thrives under pressure is exemplary to watch. He would be one of the first names in Bruce’s line-up.
Robert Snodgrass scored a late winner last weekend and the fact that he is in fine form should render him a place on the right-hand-side of the midfield. He has been using his experience and calibre to good use and from the other end, Albert Adomah would be a sensible option.
The duo of Conor Hourihane and Jack Grealish will be stationed in the centre of the midfield. Hourihane and Grealish have been excellent together owing to their work-ethic, passing range and ability to gallop forward time and again and they need to keep the chemistry going when they face the Brewers.
Although Bruce has Keinan Davis and Scott Hogan in his ranks, the Lions’ January signing, Lewis Grabban, is expected to get the call to lead Aston Villa’s attack. Aston Villa have signed him on loan from Bournemouth for the rest of the season and Bruce would be desirous to get the most out of the newcomer.