Aston Villa vs Wolverhampton Wanderers Preview: Promotion chasers clash in West Midlands derby

The two West Midlands and promotion rivals clash as Wolves travel to Aston Villa on Saturday tea-time.

Aston Villa vs Wolverhampton Wanderers Preview: Promotion chasers clash in West Midlands derby
Aston Villa vs Wolverhampton Wanderers Preview: Promotion chasers clash in West Midlands derby

Aston Villa play host to top of the table Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Championship game of the weekend.

The hosts head into the game, having won nine of their last eleven games. They overcame a struggling Sunderland side at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night, winning 3-0.

Wolves will be hoping they've got themselves back on track after they dispatched of Leeds United with ease on Wednesday night. Goals from Romain Saïss, Willy Boly and Benik Afobe saw them win 3-0, their first win in four games.

Promotion chasers

A few weeks ago Wolves looked nailed on to return to the Premier League but a poor run of form has seen the chasing pack close the gap slightly. 

Villa's good form has seen them close the gap to ten points, a gap that could be reduced to seven if they emerge victorious on Saturday.

The form of Villa's attacking players has helped them to push for an automatic promotion place. Jack Grealish, Albert Adomah and Robert Snodgrass have particularly caught the eye, though the former missed a number of games through injury before returning for the game against Sunderland.

Wolves were flying at the top of the league a few weeks ago, but their lead has been cut to just six points. By the time this game kicks off on Saturday, the gap could be just three points.

However, Nuno Espírito Santo and his side have shown no sign of panic and their performance in midweek shows that this is justified. A good performance and a positive result here and Wolves will be almost there in terms of promotion.

This is a big game, both locally and in regards to the league and both sides will be hoping to emerge victorious.

Last time they met

The two sides clashed back in October, where Wolves ran out 2-0 winners at Molineux.

Second half goals from Diogo Jota and Léo Bonatini helped the hosts to see off Steve Bruce's side.

Team news

Aston Villa will be without Jonathan Kodjia; who returns to training on Monday. 

Glenn Whelan, who is suffering from a calf injury, Alan Hutton and Axel Tuanzebe who both have hamstring injuries are also missing for the Villans.

Influential midfielder Rúben Neves will be welcomed back by the travelling side. The Portuguese midfielder has missed the last two games through suspension whilst teammate Romain Saïss is one booking away from receiving the same fate.

Bright Enobakhare is still injured and will miss out, whilst forward Benik Afobe will be pushing for a start after finding the back of the net for the first time in 10 months during the win over Leeds. 

Villa and Wolves kick-off at 17:30 pm at Villa Park on Saturday evening.