Steve Bruce settled for a draw in his first match in charge of Aston Villa Football Club. Can he claim three points on the road at Reading F.C.?
The honeymoon period is now over for the manager and club; such is life in the Championship with another midweek match-up. Several Aston Villa players are serious doubts with injuries alongside Jack Grealish’s expected three game suspension.
Grealish, who has enjoyed a hot start to the season, will most likely miss the Second City Derby in two weeks time against Birmingham City. Needless to say, any Grealish absence is a massive blow.
Tommy Elphick and Micah Richards both limped off in Bruce’s first game in charge–a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton. This leaves just the tandem of James Chester and Nathan Baker as the only fit, first-team central defenders in the squad.
Young prospect Easah Suliman would have been tipped for a bench appearance, but he went the full ninety in a 2-0 Premier League 2 win over West Ham’s U-23s.
He’s technically on-loan at Cheltenham Town, but he has clause in the contract that allows him to play development games with the parent club. What this all means is that when Nathan Baker inevitably gets injured, Alan Hutton will serve as the emergency center back…
Without further ado, the projected Aston Villa lineup at the Madejski Stadium
PROJECTED ASTON VILLA XI (4-2-3-1): Gollini; Hutton, Chester, Baker, Amavi; Tshibola, Jedinak; Adomah, McCormack, Ayew; Kodjia
SUBSTITUTES: Bunn, Bacuna, Cissokho, Westwood, Gardner, Hepburn-Murphy, Gestede
I can’t imagine Bruce going with both Hutton and Cissokho as the starting fullbacks. It’s a disaster, it’s always clearly been a disaster, and would represent a reactive move from the manager. Jordan Amavi should be the number one option at left back when fully fit.
The midfield tandem of Jedinak and Tshibola did not acquit themselves well for their first time out, but a slowed-down road match-up might feed to their strengths.
Jordan Ayew slots into Jack Grealish’s place on the left wing. Grealish could still be eligible to play as he has yet to be officially suspended (could also appeal the decision).
Albert Adomah gets another start after impressing with his ball carrying abilities. Ross McCormack and Jonathan Kodjia will be expected to carry the goal burden from here on out.
Aston Villa have an unimpressive eleven goals from twelve matches. They remain only one point from the drop zone.
Kickoff is slated for 3:00P.M. Eastern Time.