Aston Villa welcome Brighton to Villa Park on Saturday afternoon with ambitions of going top of the Premier League after a fine start to the season.
Villa have been one of the season’s surprise packages and find themselves sixth in the league after seven games, and full of confidence after beating Arsenal 3-0 in their last Premier League outing.
It’s been less happy at home in recent times though, having lost their only two league games on their own patch this season. Boss Dean Smith has targeted the visit of the Seagulls as a chance to turn that form around, having lost to Leeds and Southampton in their last two games at Villa Park.
Smith will be pleased that he has no new injury concerns ahead of the game, with Tom Heaton and Wesley still out with long-term injuries. Heaton has played some football since returning to training with the under-23’s but isn’t fit enough to return to the squad, while Wesley has started ball work after a similar injury to his knee ligaments.
The Villa boss also confirmed in Thursday’s press conference that Björn Engels and Frédéric Guilbert are unavailable for the weekend, but Kortney Hause returned to training late in the week and could make the squad.
Bertrand Traore had been struggling with a thigh injury, but played 90 minutes for Burkina Faso on Monday and should be involved in the squad. He’s unlikely to start though, as Smith hinted at continuity for the visit of Graham Potter’s side.
Speaking of Potter, Brighton are set to welcome back some faces to their squad. Aaron Connolly and Solly March have both returned to training and will be involved, while Lewis Dunk returns after a three-match suspension.
Leandro Trossard and Davy Propper are doubts though, after the Dutchman had a stomach illness in the week and may be forced to miss out as a result. Trossard isn’t completely ruled out, but Potter has said that the game might come too soon for him after injury.
Alexis Mac Allister, Christian Walton, Florin Andone and Jose Izquierdo are all ruled out.
With just six points on board after eight games, Brighton will be hoping to close the gap on the teams directly above them in the table, as a four point deficit has opened up between them and 15th-placed Leeds United.
Aston Villa take on Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, November 21st. Kick-off is at 3pm.