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