New Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard will oversee his first game in charge of the club when they take on Brighton at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon.
Villa lured the former Liverpool captain away from Ibrox as the man to replace Dean Smith in the dugout, and he will have his task cut out to claim a victory against a Seagulls side performing above expectations this season – ahead of the weekend, they find themselves in seventh place and not far off the top four.
Given the wretched run of form that Villa have had, losing five league matches on the spin, getting the home crowd roaring by naming a forward-thinking line-up ahead of the game could be the perfect start for Gerrard in the Midlands.
While Danny Ings hasn’t exactly enjoyed a barnstorming start to his own career at Villa Park, his inclusion in the starting XI could spark a fire up front.
Former Premier League striker Clinton Morrison once compared him to Robbie Keane for his “first-class” movement, while Ralph Hasenhuttl, his former boss at St Mary’s, lauded his exploits as “unbelievable”.
The £16m-rated striker enjoyed a decent campaign in the Premier League last season, firing in 12 goals in just 29 top-flight games – that followed up from his outstanding season the year before when he bagged 22 goals and finished just behind Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy (23).
The 29-year-old got his Villa career off to the perfect start with two goals in his first two games, but goals have been far harder to come by since then, with his team’s overall struggles not being the most ideal situation either.
However, with Gerrard having worked with the likes of Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe north of the border, the Villa boss will feel confident that he can get Ings firing again, and he could start by doing it against Brighton on Saturday.
A new manager and a new setup could be exactly what the summer signing needs to thrive at Villa Park.