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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)

David McGoldrick will require surgery after suffering a deep gash to his groin following an ‘appalling’ tackle by Sheffield Wednesday captain Glenn Loovens.

All the goals and incidents from Ipswich Town’s 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.

Emyr Huws was delighted to end his injury nightmare after returning to the Ipswich Town first team, but was left ‘gutted’ after Sheffield Wednesday escaped Portman Road with a point.

The last two Ipswich Town games have shown just how quickly things can change in football.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy hailed his team following a 2-2 home draw against Sheffield Wednesday tonight which started with a literal kick to the groin and ended with a metaphorical one.

Sports writer Andy Warren hands out his ratings following Ipswich Town’s heartbreaking draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

Ipswich Town were left kicking themselves after Atdhe Nuhiu’s towering header deep into stoppage-time salvaged Sheffield Wednesday a 2-2 draw at Portman Road.

Ipswich Town host Sheffield Wednesday in a televised Championship clash (Sky Sports) tonight.

Mick McCarthy has backed ‘top bloke’ Carlos Carvalhal to guide Sheffield Wednesday into the Championship top six by the end of the season.

Ipswich Town host Sheffield Wednesday in a televised Championship match tonight (7.45pm ko). STUART WATSON previews the action.

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