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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Aston Villa should stop the rot with point at Ewood Park

Blackburn may have to settle for third home draw of the campaign

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish
1 of 1

Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football, 5.30pm Saturday

Aston Villa need to stop the rot after their humbling 4-1 defeat at Sheffield United before the international break and they can do just that by taking a point against Blackburn at Ewood Park.

Villa's squad has been substantially enhanced by the loan signings of Yannick Bolasie and Tammy Abraham and they should be targeting automatic promotion.

But confidence is low after the humiliation in Yorkshire, where they trailed 4-0 within 50 minutes.

The arrivals of Bolasie and Abraham gave the fans a much-needed boost, but they don't address their obvious deficiencies at the back.

Villa have not kept a clean sheet in the league and goalkeeper Orjan Nyland has been one of the weakest links, making errors leading to goals in the 1-1 draw at Ipswich, the 2-2 draw at home to Brentford and the Sheffield loss.

He hasn't been helped by some dodgy defending. James Chester has not been as assured as last season and Mile Jedinak, a midfielder converted to play in central defence, has looked like a fish out of water.

Villa need to get the right foundations in place and have been linked with swoops for out-of-contract defenders John Terry and James Collins.

They have options aplenty in attack with Jonathan Kodjia, Abraham and Scott Hogan (fit again after a long layoff) competing for one centre-forward berth and Ahmed El Mohamady, Anwar El Ghazi, Bolasie and Albert Adomah jostling for wide positions.

Added to the mix is attacking midfielder Jack Grealish, but the balance of the squad does not look quite right and that may explain the lack of market confidence in Villa, who have been pushed out to 16-1 in the title betting.

Blackburn have more modest ambitions, although a push at the playoff places should not be entirely discounted.

They have done well in the market, holding on to star man Bradley Dack and securing attacking midfielder Kasey Palmer and forward Ben Brereton on loans from Chelsea and Nottingham Forest - the Brereton deal will be made permanent in January.

Those are the moves of a club aiming to do more than settle for survival and Blackburn were going well until their 4-1 loss at Bristol City.

Dack missed that match through injury but is expected to return against Villa and will be the home side's main goal threat.

However, Blackburn are up against a Villa side determined to put in a more organised performance and they may have to settle for a third home draw of the campaign.

1pt 12-5 Betfred

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Team news
Jacob Davenport sustained a knock in training and won't be risked and Jack Rodwell lacks match fitness, but Bradley Dack (knee) is set to return after a three-week layoff.

Aston Villa
Albert Adomah (back) and Scott Hogan (groin) are back in training and Yannick Bolasie and Tammy Abraham could be involved for the first time.

Key stat
Blackburn are unbeaten in their last 23 home league games.

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Blackburn are unbeaten in their last 23 home league games
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