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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Aston Villa should go for it at Norwich

Draws are no good to Steve Bruce

Aston Villa attacking midfielder Jack Grealish
1 of 1

Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football, 12.30pm Saturday

After a 1-0 defeat to Bolton and a goalless draw at Hull, Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce claimed his team needed to win six of their last seven games to have any chance of nicking automatic promotion.

They responded with a comfortable 3-0 home victory over Reading on Tuesday and, while a top-two finish appears highly unlikely, a positive approach can be expected from Bruce's men at Norwich.

Draws are no use to Villa given the points that Cardiff have on the board and the superb form of third-placed Fulham, so an entertaining prospect could be on the cards at Carrow Road.

August's reverse fixture ended in a 4-2 Villa win and the promotion challengers have been rattling in the goals since the turn of the year.

They beat Bristol City 5-0 on New Year's Day, won 4-2 at Sheffield Wednesday, 3-0 at Sunderland and thumped leaders Wolves 4-1 before the setbacks at Bolton and Hull.

Most of Villa's goals have come at home but they should be encouraged to attack a Norwich defence who have conceded 13 times in their last five Sky Bet Championship matches.

Both teams have scored in four of those fixtures (the exception was a 2-0 defeat to flying Fulham) and that looks worth a bet again given Villa's desperation for three points.

Scott Hogan and Lewis Grabban are prolific strikers at this level, with Albert Adomah, Robert Snodgrass and Conor Hourihane, who scored a hat-trick in the reverse fixture, goal threats from midfield.

But mid-table Norwich have little pressure on them and, with exciting youngster James Maddison pulling the strings, they can play their part in a high-scoring encounter.

Both teams to score
3pts 10-11 Hills

Sky Bet Championship standings

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Team news
Moritz Leitner could return to the squad but Marco Stiepermann and Onel Hernandez are sidelined and Marley Watkins (illness) also misses out.

Aston Villa
Jonathan Kodjia is likely to be on the bench again as he continues his return from a long-term injury. Glenn Whelan is a doubt while Alan Hutton, Andre Green and Jed Steer remain sidelined.

Key stat
Aston Villa have scored three or more goals in seven of their 15 league games in 2018.

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Aston Villa have scored three or more goals in seven of their 15 league games in 2018
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