If there is ever a time that Villa fans want to go to The Hawthorns, it’s after four wins in a row. Form is spectacular. Performances have been brilliant and the team are starting to show what they are made of. The result against Birmingham is still fresh in the memory, but it’s time for another derby.
West Brom are arguably only second to Blues in terms of Villa’s biggest rivals. This season, that is evident more than ever with both teams battling for promotion.
Make no mistake, the result of this one could be huge by the end of the season. It’s not must win, but it is certainly must not lose. As expected, Dean Smith is full of confidence.
He said: “We’ve got full respect for West Bromwich Albion, but we certainly haven’t got any fear. There’s confidence running through the squad at the moment. They’ve got that belief they can go anywhere and win.”
Wins against Middlesbrough and Derby in recent games have proven that a no fear attitude has been adopted at Villa lately, and Conor Hourihane explained how in the week.
He said: “The gaffer does not want to go to any place and set up for a draw. That is just not his way of doing things. He wanted to go away to Derby and win there. He wanted to go to Boro and win. It is all about winning and it is great to be part of it.
“Listen, West Brom are a good side and they have great firepower in their team. It is going to be another tough game away from home, a local derby on the telly. It will be another tough one but we are looking forward to it.
“This group are determined to achieve something. The manager has come in and he and his staff have been fantastic from day one. They got us together and worked us hard on the training field.”
In terms of injuries, Villa are still missing a few. Henri Lansbury is definitely out while Albert Adomah’s chances of playing on Friday night are seen as doubtful. Birkir Bjarnason is back in light training, but the game under the lights in West Brom may come a little too soon for the Iceland international.
One man who should come back in is Alan Hutton. He was suspended for the trip to the Riverside, but with Ahmed Elmohamady impressing on his return to the starting line-up, will the Scot regain his place?
THE NUMBERS THAT MATTER
- Tammy Abraham is in the form of his Villa career so far with seven goals in his last four games.
- Villa have failed to win on their last six trips to West Brom, with the last victory coming in September 2008.
- West Brom and Villa are the two highest scorers in the Championship this season with 42 and 39 strikes respectively.
Written by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)
IMAGE CREDIT: AVFC