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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)

Andy Warren and Stuart Watson break down a trio of Ipswich Town games, discuss Mick McCarthy’s future and Marcus Evans’ voice.

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans has to speak up – and fast.

Town fan KARL FULLER casts his eye over Ipswich’s 1-0 win at Preston and admits he would have settled for three points this week just gone – Town got four!

Match highlights of Ipswich Town’s 1-0 away victory at Preston North End in the Championship.

It’s a great win at Preston, of course it is, but why oh why is Mick seemingly so unwilling to go for the jugular?, writes Terry Hunt

If Mustapha Carayol is to earn himself a long-term deal at Ipswich Town, then displays like this at Deepdale will do him no harm at all.

Ipswich Town won 1-0 at Preston North End this afternoon courtesy of Mustapha Carayol’s first-half finish. STUART WATSON looks at the key talking points.

Following Ipswich Town’s 1-0 win at Preston, sports writer Andy Warren hands out his player grades.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy felt his team finally got what they deserved with a 1-0 win at Preston North End this afternoon.

Mustapha Carayol’s goal on his full Ipswich Town debut was the difference as the Blues shut up shop in the second half to leave Deepdale with a 1-0 victory.

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