Both teams are level on points going into their derby clash on Sunday lunchtime and you can listen to all the action unfold live on talkSPORT 2
Sunday afternoon’s Championship clash will be a huge one as Aston Villa welcome local rivals Birmingham to Villa Park – and you can listen to full commentary of the match live on talkSPORT 2 from midday.
The stalemate – the Blues ninth drawn match of the season thus far – extended Birminghams unbeaten run at St Andrews to 14 matches but Monk preferred to focus his ire on a defence thats now conceded six goals across their most recent two second-half efforts. The City boss bemoaned simple and elementary errors.
Both teams are level on 24 points in the Championship table so there is a little more at stake than bragging rights in what should be a classic encounter.
With 12 players away on international duty, the club will monitor the condition of returning players ahead Sundays showdown, although Villa are hopeful captain James Chester and the influential McGinn will be fit enough to feature. Elsewhere, Neil Taylor should be available but Birkir Bjarnason is a major doubt.
However, Dean Smith’s men will be confident they can get the three points as they have won their last two games, including a 3-0 dismantling of Frank Lampard’s Derby County.
Aston Villa [1.86] have enjoyed the upper hand in recent derbies, last losing to their city rivals back in March 2005 when the pair where Premier League clubs. The Claret & Blue have since returned W8-D4-L0 in 12 contests against Birmingham, silencing the Blues on seven occasions and shipping just five goals.
Meanwhile, Garry Monk’s Birmingham have not won since October so go into the clash as the underdogs.
Under Smiths watch, the Villans have tabled three triumphs from their five fixtures, including back-to-back victories to nil on home soil. The hosts have now returned W18-D10-L3 at Villa Park since the start of last season, and have managed to net in each of their last 20 in front of their own supporters.
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Dean Smith (Aston Villa): “They [Villa players] have to know the game plan and follow it but also keep calm.
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Harlee Dean enjoying cult status at Birmingham
“We can’t be obsessed with beating Birmingham City, we have to be obsessed with winning every game.”
Garry Monk (Birmingham): “This will be another level above that but we need to take that experience where we have gone to hostile places, big crowds, dealt with the game situation really, really well and managed the game how we wanted.”
John McGinn will be a game day decision over chances of facing Blues
Aston Villa: Nyland; Hutton, Chester, Tuanzebe, Taylor; Whelan, Hourihane; Adomah, Grealish, Kodjia; Abraham
Birmingham: Camp; Colin, Morrison, Dean, Harding, Pedersen; Craig Gardner, Kieftenbeld, Mahoney; Adams, Jutkiewicz
The second city derby takes place at Villa Park today as the hosts entertain their rivals Birmingham in front of the sky cameras.
Villa will be looking to build on an impressive 3-0 away win at Derby before the international break and hold the upper hand in terms of form in this fixture.
“(Manager) Garry (Monk) got across what he wanted from us and everyone grabbed hold of it because we know what we can be if we do it right. He’s the best manager – and it’s the best staff – I’ve worked with. It’s a siege mentality.”
Villa are unbeaten in their last 12 league meetings against Birmingham, winning 8 and drawing 4, and it is as far back as 2005 since Birmingham last tasted victory.
“When I was in non-league I was working at the same time and you see the young boys now and they just haven’t got the hunger. People have had much more talent than me but it’s about your attitude and your heart.”
Comment: Fixture schedule offers Aston Villa the chance to deliver more statements
To further stack the odds up against Birmingham in those 12 matches they have failed to score in 7 of them and have only netted a total, 5 goals in the remaining ones. Villa are best price 10/11 (Betvictor) to win and 41/20 (888sport) to win to nil.
He said: “It’s completely different to last season. You can’t wait to go into training, whereas you didn’t want to go in last year. We’ve been given an identity and have embraced it.
Big blow – Plenty of Aston Villa fans lament loss of key man ahead of Blues showdown
Most recent form is a little bit more even with only goal difference separating the sides in the league table. They sit 11th and 12th respectively and need to get a run of form together to stay in touch with the play off places as a minimum.
Aston Villa man has trained fine and is ready for Birmingham meeting
Aston Villas home form is decent with only the one defeat, to Sheffield Wednesday, all season although they may feel they have drawn too many in the earlier part of the season. They have won their last two to nil against Bolton and Swansea. Another thing to note is Aston Villa have not failed to score in any of their last 20 championship fixtures at home.
Birmingham more recently have failed to win their last 2 league matches, drawing 3-3 at home to Hull and losing 3-1 away to Derby. Before that they were on an impressive 11 matches unbeaten, 5 wins and 6 draws. Away from home Birmingham have only won 3 of their 13 league matches under Gary Monk, 3 draws and 7 defeats.
Darius Vassell predicts whether Aston Villa will beat Birmingham on Sunday
Sometimes with derby matches form goes out the window but I do expect this to be a tight affair and only 1 goal separating the sides but Villa to score that 1 more goal than their rivals, either 1-0 or 2-1.
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Mr Fixit has been the resident football tipster at Scotlands most read newspaper, the Daily Record, for over 20 years.
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