With the midweek game against Rotherham, it’s likely we’ll see a few bits of rotation in the starting eleven tomorrow.
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One major thing about the Championship is that there’s an awful lot of fixture congestion at certain stages of the season, namely the Christmas period and towards the end of the season.
This is the case this week, as Aston Villa will have taken on Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United and Bristol City in the space of several days.
And with fixture congestion comes rotation. Aston Villa have been in incredulous form of late, racking up six wins in a row with a relatively unchanged side throughout – but with a midweek game away from home against relegation candidates Rotherham, there needs to be changes made to ensure that the side don’t look fatigued in what is a season defining game against Bristol City who dispatched play-off rivals West Bromwich Albion 3-2 last night.
Conor Hourihane is the prime contender for a place in the starting eleven – replacing the elder statesman Glenn Whelan who has performed admirably within the unbeaten streak. But if Whelan is to be utilised for future games, and especially against Bristol City when the Villa face up against former academy graduate Andreas Weimann, he’s going to need to be rested.
Hourihane was in a rich vein of form coming off the back of a two goal game against Derby County, but lost his place in the side as his other half was giving birth to their child – and Whelan has kept Hourihane out of the starting eleven since.
Axel Tuanzebe is also likely to start the game after playing the majority of the second half against Sheffield Wednesday on the past weekend. Kortney Hause was taken off early with what was believed to be a groin problem and will likely miss out against Rotherham as not to aggravate it further.
Tuanzebe looked fairly assured against Wednesday, but with the partnership that was formed between Hause and Tyrone Mings, it’s a shame to see that disrupted through a slight injury.
Fans may see Jonathan Kodjia start tomorrow night, as Anwar El Ghazi has enjoyed a long, uninterrupted spell in the side – but has struggled with finishing out games at times. Kodjia could start on either side of the wing if the truth be told, but Andre Green is young and unless past injury worries have come back to haunt him, he’s likely to start on the right. If Green doesn’t start, then Albert Adomah will, as last season’s top scorer has netted three times in the last seven games as an impact sub.
Less likely to get game time are the likes of Henri Lansbury and Birkir Bjarnason – as the midfield pairing have missed out behind the likes of Jack Grealish and John McGinn, both of whom are enjoying their best form of the season. One or the other may make an appearance from the bench just to stop one of the above from completing a full 90 minutes.