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MATCH PREVIEW

PUBLISHED
12:00 5th May 2017
By  Kieran Cleeves

Albion lost at Bristol City last time out.

PREVIEW: ASTON VILLA V ALBION


Brighton & Hove Albion play Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday, kick-off 12pm.


TEAM NEWS

Albion manager Chris Hughton confirmed Sam Baldock is in contention to play against Aston Villa this weekend, after the striker came through an intense week of training.

The 28-year-old hasn’t feature for the Seagulls since the 2-0 defeat to Leeds United at the end of March, but has resumed training and could return for Albion’s final game of the season.

Shane Duffy [ankle] and Connor Goldson [heart condition] are the only absentees, with both defenders hoping to recover from their setbacks over the summer.

For Aston Villa, top goalscorer Jonathan Kodjia will be unavailable after breaking his ankle in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat against Blackburn Rovers.

Mile Jedinak [groin], Alan Hutton [broken ribs], Gabriel Agbonlahor [ankle], Andre Green and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy [both hamstring] will also be missing for Villa through injury.


FORM
 
ASTON VILLA WDLLWL
ALBION WWWWLL

Albion have fallen to back-to-back defeats after clinching promotion to the Premier League against Wigan Athletic at the Amex, but still have the chance of securing the Sky Bet Championship title this weekend.

The Seagulls were beaten 2-0 by Norwich City at Carrow Road, with two bizarre own goals from David Stockdale, before Josh Brownhill’s first-half winner for Bristol City at the Amex.

Albion reached the Premier League after overcoming the Latics 2-1 on Easter Monday, with goals from Glenn Murray and Solly March proving enough, despite Nick Powell’s late consolation.

Hughton’s team edged closer to promotion after stringing together four successive victories leading into the Wigan game, starting with a 1-0 home success over Blackburn when Murray found the back of the net.

Another three points were secured against Birmingham City at the Amex, as goals from Murray, Tomer Hemed and Uwe Huenemeier wrapped things up in a 3-1 win.

Murray was on the scoresheet again as Albion overcame Queens Park Rangers 2-1 at Loftus Road, with Sebastien Pocognoli adding a second with a superb free kick.

Another clean sheet and three points came against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, as Anthony Knockaert’s double moved the Seagulls one step closer to reaching the Premier League.

Aston Villa’s form was inconsistent throughout April, as they picked up three victories, three defeats and one draw.

Most recently, Steve Bruce’s team were beaten 1-0 by Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, which followed on from a 1-0 victory over local rivals Birmingham City at Villa Park.

Consecutive 3-1 defeats to Reading and Fulham came beforehand, and the Villans also drew 1-1 against Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.

The Villans opened April with a 2-0 home victory over Norwich, before Jonathan Kodjia’s early goal secured another three points, as they edged out Queens Park Rangers on home soil.


LAST TIME OUT: ALBION



ALBION 0

BRISTOL CITY 1
Brownhill 43

Albion line-up: Stockdale; Bruno, Huenemeier, Dunk (Tomori 89), Pocognoli; Knockaert, Kayal (Sidwell 62), Stephens, Skalak (March 46); Hemed, Murray.

Subs not used: Maenpaa (GK), Rosenior, Murphy, Akpom.


LAST TIME OUT: ASTON VILLA



BLACKBURN 1
Graham 54

ASTON VILLA 0


Aston Villa line-up: Johnstone; Hutton, Chester, Baker, Taylor; Gardner, Lansbury (Agbonlahor 64), Bacuna, Hourihane (Adomah 73); Kodjia (Grealish 71), Hogan.

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Bree, Amavi, Elphick.


HEAD-TO-HEAD

Saturday’s game will be the 22nd meeting between the two clubs. Albion have been victorious on four occasions, with the Villans winning 11 times, while a further six games have ended in a draw.

The Seagulls are yet to win at Villa Park, with the West Midlands club winning 3-2 in an FA Cup fixture back in 2010, when Albion were in League One and Villa were in the Premier League.

Tommy Elphick and Nicky Forster scored for Albion, but goals from Nathan Delfouneso, Ashley Young and Fabian Delph were enough to seal a narrow victory and confirm Villa’s place in the fifth round of the competition.

The sides drew 1-1 in the reverse league fixture at the Amex earlier this season, with Nathan Baker heading the Villans in front, before Murray’s long-range strike found the bottom corner to level the scores before the break.


LAST TIME WE MET




ALBION 1
Murray 45

ASTON VILLA 1
Baker 20

Albion line-up: Stockdale; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert (Norwood 80), Sidwell, Stephens, Skalak; Murray, Baldock (Murphy 71).

Subs not used: Maenpaa (GK), Goldson, Pocognoli, March, Hemed.

Aston Villa line-up: Gollini; Hutton, Chester, Baker, Amavi; Jedinak, Gardner (Grealish 67), Westwood, Adomah; Kodjia, Agbonlahor (Ayew 54).

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Elphick, Cissokho, Bacuna, Gestede.