It’s Birmingham versus Black Country at Villa Park on Saturday lunchtime as Aston Villa entertain Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.
This clash represents two sides just 30 miles apart, but with more distant ambitions in their remaining 7 league fixtures.
Aston Villa are in a scrap for survival, heading in to the game second from bottom in the Premier League, but only on goal difference.
For Wolves, they are chasing a Champions League place, with 5th spot potentially granting them that opportunity if Manchester City’s European ban is upheld.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side won’t have given up hopes of a more conventional qualification for the Champions League, however, lying just 6 points off Leicester City in 3rd.
Dean Smith’s Villa would have wanted more than a point in their last outing against Newcastle United, but as it happened a draw was enough to take them to 27 points, level with fellow strugglers AFC Bournemouth and West Ham, with the Cherries beaten by Wolves on Wednesday.
A win for Wolves puts the pressure on Manchester United in the hunt for top 4, with the Red Devils not playing until Tuesday where they travel to Brighton.
3 points for Aston Villa cranks up the heat on the Hammers, the Hornets, and Howe’s Bournemouth.
Striker Wesley and goalkeeper Tom Heaton aren’t options for Dean Smith, with the duo set to be out for the rest of the season.
Bjorn Engels is also out with injury, however Danny Drinkwater and Frederic Guilbert will again be put through a fitness test to determine their availability.
Wolves played their first competitive game of the 2019-20 season a mammoth 300 days ago, with their campaign beginning last July in the Europa League qualifying rounds.
The coronavirus-enforced suspension of the season seems to have worked wonders for Wanderers from a fitness perspective, with gaffer Nuno Espirito Santo having a clean bill of health to choose from.
With the top 4 in touching distance and Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez combining for the goal last time out against Bournemouth, Santo is likely to deploy his big guns again in order to secure their third win in three post-restart games.
Aston Villa v Wolverhampton Wanderers at Villa Park is a 12.30pm kick off on Saturday, June 26.