Villa Park is the venue for what promises to be one of the most highly anticipated rivalry clashes in the modern game, between Aston Villa and Birmingham City.
It’s not often the two sides face off against each other due to Birmingham’s failure to reach the Premier League, but there’s no doubt that excitement is always in abundance when the two teams finally get to play one another.
However, the Second City derby is also an opportunity for both Tim Sherwood and Gary Rowett to progress into the fourth round of the League Cup.
The two managers will certainly be putting the rivalry to one side in a sensible attempt to win the game. There minds will be focused on the prize, whilst the fans minds will be focused on the intense rivalry between the two Midlands sides.
There’s no doubt that Birmingham are going into the game as underdogs due to Aston Villa’s top-flight status, but the Championship will be raring to go in an attempt to prove the doubters wrong. Key players such as Paul Caddis, Demarai Gray and Clayton Donaldson will all be hoping to impress in a game that should be full of quality.
Aston Villa could field the likes of Jack Grealish, Scott Sinclair and Jordan Ayew, whilst Idrissa Gueye remains sidelined after receiving treatment for a hamstring problem.
Jores Okore and Adama Traore will also miss the game through knee and ankle issues respectively, leading Birmingham to revive a sense of optimism going into the game.
Apart from the loss of Neal Eardley, Birmingham remain for the most part injury free and will be hoping that they can use their full squad to their advantage when they face off against their closest rivals.
There’s no doubt that Villa Park will be rocking when the two sides emerge from the tunnel, as both sets of fans will hope to create an atmosphere unrivalled by most across the country.
The last time the two sides met, they played out a 1-1 draw at St Andrews. However, in the last five meetings between the two Midlands rivals, Aston Villa have won 3 matches whilst the other two have been draws.
However, the Birmingham players, staff and fans alike will all be hoping that they can come away from Villa Park with a victory this time out as they strive for their first win against Villa since 2010.
Birmingham fans! What are your score predictions for the game? Let us know in the comments below!