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Early team news emerges ahead of significant clash between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough

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Middlesbrough head to Villa Park to take on Aston Villa tomorrow afternoon in yet another game of significant importance in the Championship this weekend.

A win for the hosts could see them move into the play-off places and a point off their visitors this weekend.

Defeat for Boro could leave their prolonged spell in the play-off places hanging by a thread.

Both teams go into the game on the back of contrasting results in recent weeks.

Dean Smith’s side have won their last three, while Tony Pulis has overseen two defeats from his previous three matches.

Villa are the form side of the two with Boro winning just two of their last six games.

Ahead of the match, early team news emerges in what looks set to be an epic counter at Villa Park tomorrow.

Smith could name an unchanged after victory over Nottingham Forest in midweek.

There are no new injury concerns or suspension for Villa on the back of three successive wins to propel them within touching distance of a play-off place.

For Henri Lansbury (hamstring) and Axel Tuanzebe (foot), this weekend is a game too soon having stepped up their recovery from their respective injuries.

Tommy Elphick (foot), James Chester, Alan Hutton and Orjan Nyland (Achilles) are others who have been out.

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, could be without Daniel Ayala after his red card in midweek, but the club are sweating on the outcome of an appeal.

Ayala is facing a four-game suspension following his sending-off in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Preston, but the club submitted a claim for his wrongful dismissal.

Pulis could make changes to his side after he admitted there is tiredness in the ranks at the Riverside.

Other than Ayala, Boro will be as they were with no new injury worries ahead of the game.

The verdict

This game will mean more to Villa who have been fighting all season to get back within touching distance of the top six.

Boro have sort of meandered and coasted their way through large parts of the season having been in the play-off places for what seems to have been an eternity.

The league’s best defence will be tested with the attacking prowess that Smith’s side have.

It will be a close contest between both sides with Villa keen to flex their play-off credential

muscle and Middlesbrough hoping to respond after defeat in midweek

ScoopDragon Football News Network