Aston Villa should respond positively to defeat when they face Bolton
Villans not giving up on automatic promotion
Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football & Main Event, 5.30pm
Aston Villa's automatic promotion chances suffered a serious setback when they fell to a surprise 3-1 loss at home to QPR on Tuesday but there’s reason to think they will bounce back at Bolton.
The Villans were on a high last week after they beat Sky Bet Championship leaders Wolves at Villa Park, narrowing the gap to the leaders to seven points and moving four behind second-placed Cardiff.
But both of their promotion rivals won in midweek while Steve Bruce’s team were putting in a lacklustre effort against Rangers.
Villa, however, had been in excellent form prior to Tuesday, winning eight of ten games and losing only against Fulham, when key attacking options Jack Grealish and Albert Adomah were unavailable.
It is no surprise that they struggled to retain the intensity that saw them score a 4-1 victory over one of their key rivals.
Bolton looked like certainties for relegation when they lost the reverse fixture at Villa Park in September and Phil Parkinson has done a fine job in moving them away from the drop zone but they have faltered against the better sides in the division.
The Trotters have picked up just five points from 27 against teams currently in the top six, which suggests that class usually finds them out.
They are difficult to beat, but Parkinson’s team have only won once in eight games and the potential absence of midfielder Darren Pratley is a blow.
Villa, who have won nine away games in the league this season, could prove too strong.
1pt 17-20 bet365, Betfair, Sky Bet
Midfielder Darren Pratley faces a late fitness test.
Neil Taylor is out so James Bree will come in at left-back. Alan Hutton and Axel Tuanzebe will also miss out and striker Jonathan Kodjia remains sidelined.
Aston Villa have won ten of their last 13 Sky Bet Championship matches.
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