Aston Villa vs Birmingham City Preview: Villa hoping to avoid dent in promotion quest

The Second City Derby returns this Sunday with both teams in great form heading into the game. Both teams will be after the three points and the bragging rights in what should be a fiery fixture.

Aston Villa vs Birmingham City Preview: Villa hoping to avoid dent in promotion quest
Villa boss Steve Bruce in his press conference earlier this week (photo: Getty Images / Neville Williams)

Aston Villa host Birmingham City at Villa Park for the Second City Derby on Sunday as they look to overtake Derby County in the second automatic promotion slot.

Villa come into the game with six successive victories after the home win against Burton Albion last week. Villa have not won six games in a row since 1990.

The Blues currently sit in 19th, four points clear of the relegation zone. They arrive at Villa Park with two consecutive 3-1 victories over Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday.

Stakes raised 

Both sides will be coming in to the game confident and ultimately the stakes have been raised due to both teams' recent success. It was announced today that both sides managers, Steve Bruce and Steve Cotterill were nominated for the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month award for January.

Bruce's side look to win another Second City Derby after last year's 1-0 victory thanks to club hero and Blues villain Gabby Agbonlahor, who is once again back in training for this colossal fixture.

The Blues travel to Villa Park in search of their first taste of derby victory in the league since 2005. 

However, with Blues striker Sam Gallagher finally finding his feet, having scored seven goals in his last 10 matches, he will be looking to score in Sunday's heated match.

Cotterill is looking forward to the game and is expecting a different match to the 0-0 draw contested earlier in the season. He said in his press conference: "Both teams are in form at the moment so it could be a better game, but you just don't know for sure."

The team news for Villa is that Agbonlahor, Lewis Grabban and Keinan Davis are all fit and available.

Birmingham will be without Jonathan Grounds who is likely to miss the rest of the season after suffering a medial ligament tear against Sheffield Wednesday last weekend. Jacques Maghoma could be fit again for the tie after injuring his groin against Sunderland.