Premier League preview: Aston Villa v Wolves

Aston Villa will look to move further away from the relegation zone when Wolverhampton visit in the Midlands derby on Saturday.

Sitting in 13th on the English Premier League table, Villa are only two points clear of 18th-placed West Ham United.

A 3-2 loss at Bolton on March 5 out did not help their cause but memories of their last home game, a 4-1 thrashing of Blackburn, will be fresh.

A win would only see them move mid-table but would be a serious aid to ensuring they remain in the top flight next season.

Emile Heskey’s late winner gave Villa the points at the Molineux when the teams last met in September.

It is the beginning of a season-defining run for Gerard Houllier’s side, which includes games against teams around them on the table before finishing the season with a trip to Arsenal and a home clash against Liverpool.

Everton, Newcastle, West Ham, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Wigan Athletic beckon in six crucial games.

They will again be without defender Richard Dunne, who is out with a shoulder injury but has been the subject of an off-field investigation during the week.

Visitors Wolves have been poor on the road this season, losing 11 of 14 trips and collecting only five of a possible 42 points.

Wolverhampton face a similar run home but points are a must as they begin to drift away from the safety zone.

An 87th-minute equaliser from Steven Fletcher gave them an unlikely point at home to Tottenham in their last league game on March 6.

Although they are unbeaten in their last three home games, they have not won away from Molineux this year, with their last win on the road a shock 1-0 defeat of Liverpool on December 29.

Winger Michael Kightly has declared himself fit to play after an injury-ravaged 15 months, but he is likely to be used off the bench against Villa.

 


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