Bragging rights are on offer for Aston Villa and Wolves as they do battle in a Midlands derby on Saturday night.
A Midlands derby is the tea time Premier League offering on Saturday, as Wolves make the short trip across Birmingham to take on Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Both sides were beaten in midweek, with Wolves putting up a fight against Manchester City before going down 4-1, while Villa were shocked by Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Dean Smith lamented his side’s performance that day, but could have Jack Grealish back available after his captain missed the last three games with a leg injury.
If Grealish does return, he’ll be hoping to continue the kind of form that has saw the Villans go into the last 13 games of the season with a real chance of finishing in the European places, as they sit just four points behind sixth-placed Liverpool.
If not, Smith will have to work out a way of winning without their talisman. Ollie Watkins hasn’t scored in his last four games and was largely ineffective against Sheffield United, while Anwar El Ghazi forced Phil Jagielka into a red card, but Villa still couldn’t find a way past Chris Wilder’s side.
In fact, it was El Ghazi’s 94th minute penalty that separated the sides when they met earlier this season, with the former PSV winger netting the winner after both sides had seen a man sent off in an ill-tempered final 10 minutes.
Smith will also be without Matty Cash, Kortney Hause and Wesley for the game, as all remain side-lined with injuries.
Nuno Espirito Santo will be hoping for a repeat of the outcome from the last time the sides met at Villa Park, when Leander Dendoncker scored the only goal of the game during Project Restart.
The result that day left Villa in 19th place with Premier League survival very much up in the air. Fast forward nine months, and it’s Wolves that are closer to the drop than the Villans.
If Wolves are to claim bragging rights, they’ll have to do it without Daniel Podence, Raul Jimenez and Fernando Marcal, but Willy Boly is back in training and could make a return alongside Conor Coady, who scored his first goal for Wolves in 1,046 days against Man City.
If Santo’s side can take the points, they’ll put themselves just two points behind Villa going into the last 10 games, but eighth place is up for grabs if the home side can do the double over Wolves.
Aston Villa take on Wolves at Villa Park on Saturday, March 6th. Kick-off is at 5.30pm.