Aston Villa to drag themselves out of the bottom three?

Premier League: Birmingham fans at St AndrewsOn a day of several massive derby clashes, Birmingham have the chance to throw their closest rivals right into the relegation dog fight. After losing their Carling Cup semi-final first leg away at West Ham on Tuesday, Alex McLeish has been buoyed by news surrounding potential transfer targets.

With Kenny Miller set to re-unite with his former national team coach over the course of the weekend, McLeish will be able to call on the talents of new loan signing David Bentley for the first time, as the former Blackburn and Tottenham man looks to “resurrect” his career.

Most of Villa’s dealings in the transfer market thus far has surrounded letting players go, and this will concern fans, particularly with so many weaknesses in Gerard Houllier’s squad. Moves for Wayne Bridge and Charlie Adam have both come to nothing, and Houllier may soon be questioning how much he can expect to gain from January’s sales.

Regardless of squad strength, Villa must put in a strong performance this weekend to avoid being earmarked as genuine candidates for the drop. Birmingham have been strong at home this season, but with a local derby of this importance I would expect Villa’s key players to show their worth.

Prediction: 1-2


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