Aston Villa will be hoping to continue their spirited revival under Paul Lambert when they take on Stoke City at Villa Park tomorrow.
Villa faced a brief spell in the Premier League relegation zone in November, but have sparked into life recently. A three match unbeaten run including a morale boosting victory against Reading who have also been in the relegation mix this season, has breathed new life into the Villans.
Stoke though have proven a tough nut to crack for sides this season and having secured all three points for their last three fixtures straight they will be in buoyant mood coming into this one.
The Potters are sitting pretty in the top half of the table and will be looking to establish themselves among the frontrunners for European qualification.
Paul Lambert has confirmed that Darren Bent will be in the squad for Saturday’s Premier League clash, yet he is expected to only make the bench. Ron Vlaar (calf) Richard Dunne (groin) and Charles N’zogbia remain side-lined for this clash as the manager has to reshuffle his pack for a physical Stoke challenge.
Stoke will definitely be without midfielders Charlie Adam, who serves a one-match suspension, and Rory Delap (hernia), alongside defender Marc Wilson who is a long term absentee with a broken leg. They will also be hoping Peter Crouch can feature against his former side, and that Cameron Jerome and Michael Owen can also force themselves into contention for the game.
There has been a mere 8 goals in the last six matches between Aston Villa and Stoke, so a bore-draw looks like it could be on the cards.