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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Aston Villa's promotion charge set to gather pace

Villans can blunt the Blades

Scott Hogan has scored four goals in Aston Villa's last three matches
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Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football & Main Event, 7.45pm Tuesday

Aston Villa are on their best run of the Sky Bet Championship season and can make it five league wins in a row by winning at promotion rivals Sheffield United.

Wolves are 12 points clear at the top but the battle for the second automatic place is hotly contested with just seven points covering second to seventh.

United are seventh – two points outside of the playoffs – but have found victories much harder to come by in recent months and the Blades' 2-1 victory at Norwich was only their second success in 11 league games.

They were also 1-0 winners at home to Preston in a scrappy FA Cup fourth-round tie on Saturday although it was a far from confident performance.

While United have been struggling for fluency, Villa are getting stronger.

Steve Bruce's side look a robust unit and have benefited from the recent return from injury of John Terry.

The former England international has lost some of his pace but his experience and leadership qualities are coming to the fore as Villa close in on a possible return to the top flight.

Offensively, Villa have sorely missed injured striker Jonathan Kodjia, who has played just eight league games this season.

But Scott Hogan has hit the goal trail, scoring four times in the last three games, and is getting a great service from wingers Robert Snodgrass and Albert Adomah. 

It has taken a long time for Villa to get close to their potential but they are starting to look like a strong Championship side and appear the likelier winners at Bramall Lane.

Aston Villa draw no bet
2pts 7-5 Betfair

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Team news

Sheffield United
Paul Coutts (broken leg) is out for the season and Keiron Freeman (knee) is a doubt.

Aston Villa
Jonathan Kodjia (ankle) is out long-term and Mile Jedinak, Chris Samba and Gabby Agbonlahor are also sidelined. Axel Tuanzebe hopes to be involved after joining on loan from Manchester United.

Key stat
Sheffield United have won one of their last six home league fixtures.

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While United have been struggling for fluency, Villa are getting stronger
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