Aston Villa have now secured fourth place in this season’s Sky Bet Championship and close out the campaign with an away game against Millwall. With nothing left to play for in the regular season, and the possibility of resting key players for the play-offs, there’s the opportunity for fringe players and youth players to get a chance in the side.
Goalkeeper – Sam Johnstone
Whilst goalkeepers sometimes have a lot to do, they very rarely get as tired as outfield players. Johnstone should keep his position in the squad, especially if some youth players are involved, just so the scoreline doesn’t end up as an embarrassment.
Right-back – James Bree
Bree has had limited game time this season and has impressed when he’s played. He’d probably play even better when allowed to play at his natural right-back rather than left-back, allowing Elmohamady a deserved rest.
Centre-back – Easah Suliman
It should certainly be time for the England youth Captain to get a taste of first team, league football. Suliman has been on the Villa books for a number of years and the expectation is certainly there for fans, so why shouldn’t he be involved?
Centre-back – James Chester
Chester hasn’t missed a minute of league football this season and it would be disingenuous to throw him out of the side to let someone like Chris Samba get some game time. Let him finish the season as one of the few consistencies in Villa’s season.
Left-back – Alan Hutton
Hutton’s recently returned from a hamstring injury and needs more game time if he’s to be involved in the play-offs. He performed exceptionally well after coming on for Neil Taylor against Derby, so let him continue his good form against Millwall.
Right Wing – Callum O’Hare
Whilst O’Hare is naturally more of a central player, he can play on the wing and would be an ample replacement for Snodgrass, especially with nothing to play for. Fans have been begging for the inclusion of O’Hare since his bright performances at the start of the season and his strong performances in U-23 games.
Centre Midfield – Henri Lansbury
Lansbury has also found his game time limited this season, but has popped up with a few goals when called upon – most recently at Ipswich. It may give Bruce and the recruitment team one last look at Lansbury and could be a decision maker regarding whether he remains at the club next season.
Centre Midfield – Jordan Lyden (If Fit)
If Jordan Lyden is fit enough, he should get a bit of a run out. He’s had a torrid time this season with injuries, and showed promise when called upon in our relegation season from the Premier League.
Left Wing – Andre Green (If Fit)
Green has only managed five games this season, in a season which was supposedly meant to be his breakthrough. Granted, he’s been injured for a large chunk of it, or overshadowed by hot-to-trot Albert Adomah – but his goal against Norwich early in the season showed what the youngster can do.
Forward – Jonathan Kodjia
Kodjia still looks a little rusty since returning from injury and could do with a run out. If he manages to find the net, Jimmy Danger finding an ounce of confidence could be the difference between another season in the Championship and a Play-Off Final.
Forward – Keinan Davis
Granted, we’d be playing two target men – although Kodjia has more technical ability. Davis was called upon heavily when injuries hampered our early season, and it’d be nice to see him get another run out – especially after his form for the England youth set up.
Mark Bunn – A mainstay on the bench this season.
Scott Hogan – Looks bereft of confidence once again and could do with a bit of game time.
Birkir Bjarnason – If fit, could do with some game time to ensure he’s up to scratch before the play-offs.
Gabriel Agbonlahor – It wouldn’t hurt to give Gabby one last run out in a Villa shirt before he hangs up his boots.
Joshua Onomah – The Spurs loanee impressed against Ipswich and could make the difference against Millwall too.
Jake Doyle-Hayes – Another one from the youth set-up, Doyle-Hayes impressed in pre-season and could find himself making an end-of-season appearance.
John Terry – The Captain should at the very least be on the bench, in what could potentially be his last League appearance for the Villa.