While a miracle could occur to see Aston Villa smash and grab an automatic promotion spot over the next two games, all eyes are on finishing the season on a high note at Villa Park against Derby County. Derby are coming off of a complete game against Cardiff City, which they won 3-1.
Scoring in that match against Cardiff City was the elusive midfielder Matej Vydra, although he came into the game from the bench. Vydra has an astounding 20 goals and 3 assists for Derby County this season. While there may not be many Derby players who can make a something out of a nothing, Vydra is definitely a player to give full attention to. Although his personal form has dropped over the past handful of games just like the club he plays for, Vydra has the ability to boss midfield play, make incisive runs and hand out headaches at will for opposing defensive lines.
Steve Bruce rotated his side in the previous match against Ipswich Town, leaving productive wingers Albert Adomah and Robert Snodgrass on the bench. Bruce will likely rotate both Villa wingers back into the starting eleven in an attempt to see both men get back into form. At his pre-match press conference, the gaffer noted that Villa are dealing with a few niggling injuries, but nothing serious. The only name that Bruce had on his lips as certainties for being absent for the Derby clash is Birkir Bjarnason with a calf injury. This means that the likes of John Terry, Alan Hutton and Jonathan Kodjia may return to the starting eleven to gain match sharpness going into Villas’ next game against Millwall and beyond. All three players have the ability to dismantle an opposing coaches plans, and that’s exactly what Villa need going into the Championship playoffs.
Gabby Agbonlahor has been active on social media in the days leading up to this clash against Derby County. Aston Villa social media pages have released a legnthy video of Agbonlahor talking about his time at Aston Villa as well. While not all Villa fans are in agreement that Agbonlahor has been an icon for the club, the Birmingham born striker has had some very memorable moments while wearing Claret & Blue. Hopefully Gabby gets a warm reception from the home fans as his time as an Aston Villa player comes to an end.
Could it be too much to ask to see Agbonlahor on the bench? Maybe. But, it would be nice to see him get on the pitch and dazzle the Villa faithful one last time.
Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH) // Follow us on Twitter (@claretandview)