Follow us on Twitter @claretandview // Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH)

League football is back in full swing and here to stay.

Until March.

Don’t worry, all of us at The Claret & View are just as excited as you are.

With some damning injury news the past few days for Aston Villa, Steve Bruce has a tough task ahead of him to select a team that will secure a result. With John Terry, Jonathan Kodjia and Scott Hogan all injured for the foreseeable future there’s a lot to be considered.

Aston Villa supporters are clamouring all of the place for Mile Jedinak to play deputy in the absence of John Terry as a central defender and for good reasons. Other than Jedinak securing a World Cup berth for Australia with a hat trick, he has actually played very well for the Socceroos. This is a very positive step forward for Jedinak and as long as he is fit and ready to go, Jedinak should at least make the bench in this contest against QPR. Even if it is to relieve Chris Samba in the event that his legs start lacking.

In the absence of Scott Hogan, who has been sidelined with a procedure on his stomach, where has all of Villas striking options gone? Seeming that Jack Grealish is now healthy and most certainly ready to play the Number 10 role for Villa, youngster Callum O’Hare just may be the player to step up into a striking option. Keinan Davis is sure to start at striker for a lot of reasons, but Keinan also has showed signs of stamina woes the later the match goes on. It will be interesting to see if Steve Bruce has the same mindset with his team selection. Although a foregone conclusion, it seems that Villa did need Ross McCormack after all. It would not be outside of the realm of possibility to see McCormack recalled from his loan in the January transfer window.

QPR are not going to be an easy match-up for Aston Villa. Although they are 15th on the table, they are only five points behind Villa at this stage of the season. You’ve just got to love the Championship, right? Don’t let the positional number fool you, QPR is a team who can play and play well against the bigger teams in the league. QPR are coming off of a loss to Nottingham Forest, but before the 4-0 drubbing to Forest, QPR registered two successive wins against Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers. If there was a club that Villa did not want after an international break, it was Queens Park Rangers.

The Hoops are backstopped by the 27 year old talented goalkeeper Alexander Smithies. Smithies has featured in all 16 games for QPR this season, and has three clean sheets to his name. Although the numbers that Smithies has put up so far in the campaign don’t immediately jump out at you, he does have a tendency to make saves that leave the opposition supporters scratching their heads. If Villa are to win this game, they need to pepper Smithies early and often. Albert Adomah and Robert Snodgrass would be wise to put low-crosses into the penalty area as much as they can in an attempt to fool Smithies off of his line.

On the offensive side of the ball for QPR, Idrissa Doumbia and Conor Washington have been taking charge with 4 goals each to their names. Washington has played a bit more games this season that Doumbia, but if either of these men get going, it can spell trouble for a depleted back-line that Aston Villa will be presenting.  The 19 year old Doumbia has a shooting accuracy of 67% coming in to this game, meaning whoever is marking the Ivory Coast man better make sure they’re closing him down as quickly as they can.

With the bulk of the international breaks over, this is the time that Aston Villa would like to put a strangle hold on the league, or at least solidify their playoff position hopes. A win in this fixture could see Villa go on yet another bit of a run with Sunderland and Ipswich Town being the next two clubs that Villa will go up against. While Steve Bruce has selection issues through injuries, this is the time where the Villa supporters need to be at their loudest and proudest. There are a panoply of young players who are skillful that will get game time, and it will be a real joy to watch them ply their craft. This is indeed the thick of the season now and with all things considered, I’m sure the team would appreciate the support of the Aston Villa fans all over the world.

Up The Villa!

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