Aston Villa will be looking to return to winning ways when they travel to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City in their Premier League clash this evening.
Steven Gerrard’s charges slumped to their second defeat of his short reign with a 1-0 loss against Liverpool last time out, although there’s no shame in falling to the in-form title challengers at this moment in time.
However, the 41-year-old tactician will be desperate for a positive response from his side when they take on a team currently stuck in the relegation zone.
During Gerrard’s five-game spell at the Villa helm, the former Rangers boss is yet to settle upon a first-choice forward line.
The likes of Leon Bailey, Ashley Young, Emi Buendia and Jacob Ramsey have all partnered Ollie Watkins up front, while Danny Ings has been absent from the starting XI since Gerrard’s first fixture against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Ings made his return to first-team action at Anfield as a second-half substitute, though, and now may be the perfect opportunity for the summer signing to be unleashed from the off once again.
After arriving at Villa Park via a £25m move over the summer, the Midlands outfit had high expectations for the former England international following his impressive exploits for Southampton.
Former Premier League striker Clinton Morrison once compared him to Robbie Keane for his “first-class” movement on the south coast, while Ralph Hasenhuttl, his former boss at St Mary’s, lauded his exploits as “unbelievable”.
Ings then followed that up with a further 12 efforts last term as niggling injuries disrupted his campaign, but they weren’t enough to stop Villa from splashing the cash in order to secure his services.
And now Gerrard must present the clinical striker with an opportunity to replicate that form in the Claret and Blue of Villa.
His charges have failed to score three or more goals in a game since 18 September, while only John McGinn can match Ings’ tally of five goal contributions in the top-flight throughout 2021/22.
Therefore, Gerrard would be wise to unleash his most potent attacker back into the starting lineup when Villa take on a team rooted to the bottom of the table, giving his side the best chance of securing all three points.