Aston Villa will be looking to get back to winning ways and reclaim second spot with a win over Preston at Villa Park tonight.
Steve Bruce’s men had won seven games on the bounce before losing to Fulham last time out. That result, combined with Cardiff winning, meant the Welsh side moved into the second automatic promotion spot.
With Neil Warnock’s side not in action until tomorrow, along with Fulham and Derby, tonight’s game allows Villa to pile the pressure on their rivals by getting an early three points on the board.
However, it won’t be an easy task against a very resolute North End side who are eyeing up a top six spot themselves.
Only Wolves have suffered fewer defeats this season than the Lancashire side and EFL pundit David Prutton thinks Preston will leave the West Midlands with a point. The former Nottingham Forest midfielder predicted a 1-1 draw in his regular Sky Sports column.
Villa will be without Albert Adomah for the game and Jack Grealish is also a doubt whereas Alex Neil has been boosted by the return of influential midfielder Ben Pearson from suspension.
Villa fans will be expecting a win against Preston and given the way the fixtures have fallen it’s an ideal chance for them to put pressure on those around them.
However, as Prutton says, North End are a strong side and a draw is a fair call. They’ve lost just six games all season so clearly know how to make it difficult for opponents.
And, with Adomah and potentially Grealish out, Villa could be missing that creativity in the final third, so it promises to be a tough night for Steve Bruce’s side.
Thoughts, Villa fans? What are your predictions? Let us know in the comments below.