Villa v Forest; Vital Match Preview
Saturday, 23rd September, 2017.
Mark Warburton`s Nottingham Forest travel to Villa Park to take Steve Bruce`s Villains in this evenings televised Championship clash.
Mark Warburton, gave his pre-match thoughts on the trip to Villa Park:
"I've read some of the criticism of Aston Villa so far this season and it is absolutely ludicrous. We're so early in the campaign, they're a big club with lots of new players who will take time to settle so I understand Steve's frustration.
We know Villa are starting to gel and that they have some very talented individual players so it will be a tough game. The one commodity you need in football is time so hopefully Steve will get that at Villa and they can start to build their season, but hopefully not on Saturday.
We think we know Villa's formation and the bulk of their team but we have to make sure we are ready to adapt to whatever they throw at us. They have a side packed with quality players but so do we so I'm sure it will be a high-quality fixture in front of a terrific crowd.'
Aston Villa Team News:
Steve Bruce changed all 11 players for the midweek cup game, but then again his squad is huge, when compared to the side that beat Barnsley in the previous match. All of those changes are expected to be reversed, although former Forest player, Henri Lansbury, will miss the game with a knee injury.
Mile Jedinak, Jack Grealish and Gabby Agbonlahor are also due to miss out with injury, whilst out of favour former Forest loanee, Ross McCormack has headed down under to try and kick start his career. Scott Hogan is expected to play, despite limping off midweek.
Player to watch: Conor Hourihane
The 26 year old midfielder was another big money Bruce signing, as he joined Villa from Barnsley in January 2017. He is Villa`s top scorer with 4 in 8 appearances this season, after scoring 7 in 48 last term - including the winner for Barnsley at The City Ground.
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Chris Cohen, Matty Cash, Jamie Ward and David Vaughan all remain sidelined, with doubts surrounding Danny Fox after he limped off midweek.
Mark Warburton will most likely reverse the majority of the changes made to face Chelsea, with the likes of Daryl Murphy, Jordan Smith, Barry McKay, Matt Mills, Liam Bridcutt and Armand Traore all returning to the starting line up.
Player to watch: Armand Traore
The 27 year old Senagalese defender was a free agent when he joined Forest in July 2016 - a season which was truncated by a multitude of injuries. Forest`s defence will yet again face a stern away day, so the left full back will need to put in a shift if they hope to come away with anything form this game.
Match Facts & Stats
Both sides were dumped out of the 3rd round of the Carabao in midweek, Villa at home by Boro` & Forest well and truly humbled by Chelsea.
In the Championship, head to head stats; Villa have 10 points from 8 games (W2, D4, L2), scoring 10 but conceding just 9 - they are unbeaten in their last 4 league games and have an unbeaten home league record too.
Forest have 12 points from 8 games, (W4, D0, L4), scoring 11 but conceding 13 - which is a familiar pattern for a Forest defence prone to errors.
Today`s referee is Tim Robinson, his 12th game already this season, the previous 11 have seen 29 yellows and 6 red cards. Last season saw him officiate 44 games yielding 185 yellow cards and 9 red cards.
Mr Robinson will be assisted by Jonathan Hunt and Ian Cooper, with Andy Woolmer as Fourth Official.
The Bookies have Villa as odds-on favourites for a home win, which again appears hard to disagree with. Forest really do need to tighten up defensively whilst also trying to overcome the Sky TV curse which appears to have returned this season - they have also yet to draw a game, could today see another 2-2 repeat of last season (hope so!).
Forest face Fulham on Tuesday night at The City Ground (26th September) with a 7-45 KO.