Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest Preview: Both sides in desperate need of three points at Villa Park

Both Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest will be looking to secure another three points in The Championship as they face off against each other at Villa Park on Saturday evening. 

In their last league outing, Villa put in one of their most impressive performances of the season as they beat Paul Heckingbottom's Barnsley 3-0 at Oakwell. Villa have made an unconvincing start to the season but they will be hoping this win allows them to now push on.

As for Forest, they fell to a second consecutive home defeat as they lost 2-1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers. It was a disappointing result for the Reds, especially considering the equalised through a superb strike from Mustapha Carayol before going behind again just minutes later. 

How they've fared so far

It has been a torrid couple of years for Villa supporters as they have seen their side relegated from the Premier League and also struggle to adapt to life in The Championship. They were once again among the favourites for promotion before the season kicked off but have made another slow start. This has put Steve Bruce under a significant amount of pressure already. 

The club have spent a significant amount of money since their relegation to try and ensure the club is competing at the top of the division. The addition of John Terry in this summer's transfer window was another statement of intent. However, these additions have struggled to gel and have resulted in Villa once again languishing in mid table. There is still plenty of time to turn their form around but it has not been the ideal start.

Their latest outing against Barnsley highlighted what they are capable of as they tore Heckingbottom's side apart at times. Albert Adomah scored twice in what was Villa's second win of the season. Bruce's side have drawn four matches already this campaign which has ultimately cost them a place in the play-off positions at this early stage. 

As for Forest, they made a superb start to the season but it has started to tail off in recent times. Defeats to Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday and Wolverhampton Wanderers all highlighted that the Reds still have a lot of problems defensively. The 5-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in midweek in the Carabao Cup was also a reminder of how much work the Reds have to do to get to where they want to be.

Despite the fact that the Reds sit just three points off the play-off places, some fans have already started to become frustrated and have questioned Mark Warburton's position as manager of the club. However, his position is unlikely to be under any real threat as new owner Evangelos Marinakis is looking to bring stability to the club after a chaotic five-year tenure under the ownership of Fawaz Al-Hasawi

This game is a big one for Forest as they will want to irradiate the silly errors that have cost them games in recent weeks. If they can remain solid defensively, they have a great chance of getting something out of the game as they have the attacking talent to hurt teams. They will be looking to frustrate the home crowd and take advantage of any negativity that surrounds Villa as a club at this time.

Last time they met

Villa last played Forest in The Championship in a 2-1 defeat at The City Ground in February. Jonathan Kodjia had put the away side ahead early in the first-half before Britt Assombalonga grabbed an equaliser just before half-time. Jack Grealish was sent off in the second-half before teenage debutant Ben Brereton scored the winning goal for Forest in the third minute of injury time.

Forest scored a late equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw on their last visit to Villa Park. (picture: Getty Images / Michael Regan)
Forest scored a late equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw on their last visit to Villa Park. (picture: Getty Images / Michael Regan)

Forest also frustrated Villa on their last visit to Villa Park. A superb strike from Apostolos Vellios put the Reds ahead but second-half goals from Ross McCormack and Rudy Gestede turned the game on it's head. However, Henri Lansbury came up with an equaliser three minutes from time to secure Forest a valuable point. 

Team news 

Villa have been dealt numerous injury blows ahead of this game as both Lansbury and Scott Hogan remain doubts. Lansbury was forced off midweek in the Carabao Cup clash with Middlesbrough and will be disappointed to be missing this match against his former club. He will certainly be a miss for Bruce's side in the middle of the park. 

As for Forest, the likes of Liam Bridcutt, Armand Traore, Daryl Murphy and Barrie McKay are likely to return after being left out of the squad for the trip to Chelsea. They are all vital players who could play a big part in this match and will have certainly benefitted from a week's rest. 

However, Warburton will still be unable to select David Vaughan, Chris Cohen, Jamie Ward and Matty Cash as they all continue to recover from injury. Ward, Cash and Vaughan are said to not be far off a return to action.