With Cardiff winning convincingly against Birmingham this afternoon the pressure is definitely on current Championship leaders Wolves to take something as they make the short trip to take on a resurgent Aston Villa side (KO 17:30).
The race for promotion is really starting to heat up in the Championship and on Saturday two of the league’s heavyweights and nearest rivals go head to head as Aston Villa entertain Wolves at Villa Park.
Its clear that Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce is up for this and not looking for a draw, commenting earlier:
We have the chance to cut the gap. Let’s reach the heights of the last derby…
Since the turn of the new year Aston Villa have enjoyed an upturn in form losing just one of their last ten league games and have climbed up to third in the Championship as they mount a serious playoff charge.
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But despite their excellent form they remain 13 points adrift of Saturday’s opponents and four of Cardiff who occupy that all important second automatic promotion spot.
Victory over Wolves, though, and Steve Bruce will be confident the Villans can force their way into the top two one way or another.
Wolves, who are six points clear at the top, ended a three game winless run with victory at Leeds in midweek.
Questions were starting to be asked about the league leaders’ bottle, but Nuno Santo’s side responded in excellent fashion to silence their critics and extend their lead at the top of the table.
Back in October Wolves won the reverse fixture 2-0 thanks to second half goals from Jota and Bonatini.
It’s 11/1 for Wolves to win by the same scoreline at Villa Park.
The hosts will be without a number of key players with Alan Hutton, Jonathan Kodjia, Axel Tuanzebe, Chris Samba and Gabriel Agbonlahor all out through injury.
Wolves meanwhile could give late fitness tests to Bright Enobakhare and Phil Ofosu-Ayeh, but Carl Ikeme is expected to miss the match due to illness.
Leo Bonatini has 12 league goals to his name so far this season but has failed to find the back of the net since December.
In fact his last goal came against fellow Midland rivals Birmingham, so it would be fitting for him to break his duck against Villa. The Brazilian is 6/1 to open the scoring.
Combined Villa and Wolves have scored 118 league goals already this campaign, and while the outcome is difficult to decide goals should be certain in what should be a pulsating atmosphere.
Over 2.5 goals looks good value at 11/8, while its clear both sides will not want to lose this one.
Can Aston Villa close the gap on an automatic promotion place?
This one kicks off at 17:30 GMT.