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Kings of Anglia Issue 8 Magazine Offer

Opposition focus: Aston Villa’s form, business and team news ahead of Ipswich Town’s trip to Villa Park

PUBLISHED: 11:40 09 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:40 09 February 2017

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce

PA Wire/PA Images

Ipswich Town take on Aston Villa, at Villa Park, in a Championship match (3pm) on Saturday. Here we take a look at the opposition’s recent business, form and team news.

RECENT HISTORY

A year ago Remi Garde was not backed by owner Randy Lerner in the January transfer window and Villa slumped to rock-bottom relegation following a 28-year stay in the top-flight. Roberto di Matteo spent big on the likes of Ross McCormack, James Chester and Mile Jedinak last summer, but the Italian was sacked after winning just one of his first 12 games in charge.

Steve Bruce’s record so far reads P15 W7 D4 L4.

RECENT FORM

Villa have slipped to 14th in the Championship table and exited the FA Cup thanks to a seven-game winless run which includes five straight away defeats (Cardiff, Tottenham, Wolves, Brentford and Nottingham Forest).

They remain unbeaten at home in the league (six wins, seven draws), although their last victory at Villa Park was back on Boxing Day (2-1 v Burton).

Level on points with Ipswich, they have played one game less.

JANUARY BUSINESS

Seven players in at the cost of around £20m, but more than half at that recouped with the departure of four key men.

Striker Scott Hogan (Brentford, £9m) was wanted by West Ham, while ex-Norwich midfielder Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest, £2.75m) has reportedly been handed £45k-a-week wages. Irish playmaker Conor Hourihane (Barnsley, £3m) – who was released from Ipswich by Roy Keane without making a first-team appearance – has 11 assists to his name this season, while Welsh international left-back Neil Taylor (Swansea, part of swap deal for Ayew) has plenty of Premier League experience.

Birkir Bjarnason (Basel, £2m) is an Icelandic international midfielder, while teenage defenders James Bree (Barnsley, £3m) and Jordan Bedeau (Bury, £900k) are highly-rated.

Strikers Rudy Gestede (Middlesbrough £6m), Jordan Ayew (Swansea £5m) and Ross McCormack (Forest, loan) have moved on, as has midfielder Ashley Westwood (Burnley, £5m).

TEAM NEWS

Jack Grealish will serve a one-match suspension after being sent-off in last Saturday’s last-gasp 2-1 loss at Forest and could be replaced by 18-year-old homegrown winger Andre Green.

Taylor could make his debut after recovering from sickness. Gabby Agbonlahor (hamstring) remains sidelined, while Mile Jedinak is available again after injury.

REFEREE

Tim Robinson (West Sussex) – eight red cards and 125 yellows in 27 matches this season. Last Ipswich game was 1-0 home win over Preston (August 27).

BETTING

Aston Villa (4/5), Draw (45/17), Ipswich (43/10)

It was touch and go for Pickle the black Labrador when she was hit by a car on the A14 this summer – but now the determined pooch is making a remarkable recovery.

Bosses behind the development of the former Sproughton sugar beet site have confirmed it will not be used as another out-of-town retail park.

More than 100 people are preparing to pound the pavements for a major walking event aimed at raising vital cash for Alzheimer’s research.

Neighbours have gathered around a police cordon in the Hadleigh Road area of Ipswich.

A balaclava-clad man brandishing a knife robbed a McColls convenience store in Ipswich.

Shopping in Ipswich has just got a little sweeter as Hotel Chocolat has opened its doors.

Six abandoned cats were discovered in a cramped carrier in woodland near Stowmarket.

An Ipswich van driver has been banned from the road after being caught speeding along the A12 on seven occasions in a month.

Celebrate all things fishy as the Woodbridge Shuck returns to Whisstocks Quayside this weekend.

While most people throw their empty plastic cleaning bottles away when they’re empty, one father of three from Essex has been refilling and reusing his for the last three years.

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