Aston Villa travel to the DW Stadium today to take on Wigan Athletic, who currently are 23rd, and seven points adrift from safety. Wigan manager Warren Joyce was sacked during the week, leaving Graham Barrow as the interim boss. In other words, a relegation-threatened team at home in a bit of turmoil following a torrid run of two wins in 11. At least one of those wins came at the expense of BCFC, so they can feel good about that.
On paper, it might look an easy fixture, but as we’ve seen, nothing’s easy in the Championship. Apart from losing 4-0 to Manchester United, Wigan haven’t been blown out. And whereas Rotherham’s goal differential stands at a rather remarkable –50, Wigan are at a much more respectable –11. (It’s all relative, of course.)
Steve Bruce has made just one change from the starting XI against Sheffield, with Mile Jedinak starting at center half in place of the injured Nathan Baker.
Jack Grealilsh, and Scott Hogan return to the bench, accompanied by Henri Lansbury, Michah Richard, Tommy Elphick, Keinan Davis, and Mark Bunn. Andre Green is still out, but seems close to making his return
Gary Gardner and Conor Hourihane will anchor Villa’s midfield, apparently flanked by James Bree and Jordan Amavi, with Albert Adomah again looking to serve up the chances to Jonathan Kodjia, and, one hopes, Hourihane, as well. Would love to see him on the scoresheet.
Villa can’t climb much up the table with a win, maybe moving into 11th if Barnsley lose and the goals add up right. Currently we’re 14 off Sheffield in sixth, but just eight points off Preston North End, who sit 8th.
So, I expect a scrappy game. Wigan have everything to play for, and with the managerial change, you never know what you’re going to get. We’ll see if Villa continue to gel and show a bit of character, looking to win with nothing much at stake but pride, places perhaps, and a chance to show themselves they’ll truly be challenging for it all next season.