Aston Villa travel to Oakwell to face Barnsley on Saturday, in what is the 5.30pm televised Sky Sports game. Villa will be looking for their first away win of the season.
The game will have an added edge, with former Barnsley captain Conor Hourihane returning to Oakwell for the first time since his January move to Villa. Both sides sit in the bottom half of the table on seven points, however, Barnsley have a game in hand after they faced Derby in the cup on Tuesday.
Barnsley come into the game on the back of a 3-2 cup triumph over Derby County. The Tykes are in good league form, winning their last two home games 2-1 and 3-0 against Nottingham Forest and Sunderland respectively. These victories came either side of a 1-0 away defeat at Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United. Their last league game ended in a 1-1 draw away at Preston North End.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa have won just once this season, which came in a 4-2 victory over fellow slow starters Norwich City. However, they have picked up just one away point from their three games on the road this season. Disappointing defeats came at Cardiff (3-0) and Reading (2-1) but they did manage a 1-1 draw in their last away game, at Bristol City. Villa have scored just one goal in their last three games and will be looking to change that statistic at Oakwell on Saturday.
The only absentee for Barnsley will be on loan midfielder Gary Gardner, who is ineligible against his parent club. Club captain Angus McDonald returns from his three-match ban, after picking up a red card in the 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United. Adam Hammill and on-loan midfielder Harvey Barnes are expected to be fit after picking up knocks. Summer signings Cameron McGeeham and Lloyd Isgrove could make their first league appearances of the season after long-term injury layoffs.
Henri Lansbury is available for Aston Villa after winning his appeal against the red card he picked up against Middlesbrough. Mile Jedinak and Neil Taylor are expected to miss the game with groin and shin injuries respectively, whilst Josh Onomah is fit after missing the 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough. Andre Green and Jack Grealish are also unavailable due to injury. (Sky Sports)
HEAD TO HEAD
In the 19 games these two have faced off with each other, Aston Villa have won 13 of those. Barnsley have beaten Villa just twice in their history and have never managed to beat the former European Champions at Oakwell. (11v11)
Given Barnsley’s solid home form and Aston Villa’s shocking away form, I can only see things getting worse for under-pressure manager Steve Bruce. Barnsley will be fired up for this one, and I can’t see Villa being able to cope with the intensity that Barnsley will play with.
BARNSLEY 2-1 ASTON VILLA