Bolton Wanderers vs Aston Villa Preview: Villans look to bounce back following shock defeat

Aston Villa travel to The Macron Stadium on Saturday to face Bolton Wanderers in the Championship's 5.30 kick-off, in a match that could have massive implications at both ends of the table.

Differing fortunes

The hosts come into the game in 20th place and six points clear of the drop-zone. While six points is a decent gap from the bottom three, the unpredictable nature of the Championship makes this a less-than-comfortable position to be in.

Bolton's form isn't too promising either, winning only one of their last seven Championship games.

Villa meanwhile are third in the league but saw their hopes of automatic promotion dashed on Tuesday night when they suffered a shock home defeat to Queens Park Rangers. They now sit seven points behind second-place Cardiff and 11 behind leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Villans will also be looking over their shoulder at Fulham who are without a defeat in 2018 so far.

Steve Bruce's side are still however well within the running for promotion back to the Premier League and a victory over the Trotters could see them start to consolidate their place in the Championship top-six. 

Previous affairs

The previous meeting between the two sides took place in September, with Villa coming out on top. Jonathan Kodjia scored a penalty after being brought down in the box by Mark Beevers, to give Steve Bruce's men a 1-0 victory.

Neil Taylor was also sent off in added time after a poor challenge on Adam Le Fondre.

Team News

Bolton boss Phil Parkinson, will check on the fitness of midfielder Darren Pratley before he decides on his squad. Pratley took a knock in training but may be available to play on Saturday.

Steve Bruce has a dilemma in defence, as he will be without Neil Taylor, Alan Hutton and Axel Tuanzebe, all of whom are suffering from niggling injuries. The solution may be to hand former Barnsley full-back James Bree his second ever Championship start.

Forward Jonathan Kodjia also resumed full training this week, but it is unlikely that the former Bristol City goalscorer will be seen in action again this season.

Andre Green also remains sidelined with a longer-term injury.

Predicted Line-ups

Bolton: Alnwick, Flannagan, Taylor, Burke, Beevers, Henry, Derik, Pratley, Ameobi, Buckley, Le Fondre.

Villa: Johnstone, Bree, Elmohamady, Terry, Chester, Bjarnason, Hourihane, Grealish, Snodgrass, Adomah, Grabban

Match Day Stats

  1. Since losing their first five home matches this season, Bolton have not lost back-to-back games in the league at home.
  2. Villa have only failed to score in one of their last 20 league matches against Bolton, a 1-0 defeat in December 2006.
  3. Aston Villa have won 10 away matches this season in all competitions, as many as in the previous three seasons combined.