Caretaker co-managers Scott Marshall and Andy Marshall have a big decision coming up for this weekend's FA Cup match against Leicester City. Who do they start? Should it be a first-choice eleven? A win could see Aston Villa progress to the quarterfinals of the competition, not to mention build some morale. Losing would be bad, but arguably a draw would be worse. Having to replay the match would add another fixture to both teams' lists, and another game that will tire the legs of players needed to battle relegation. Even progressing in the cup may be seen as a distraction, but it's a chance for the club to win a major trophy, and should be taken seriously. Additionally, a match at Villa Park offers the opportunity to get the fans back on the side of the team, after their collective energies forced the sacking of Paul Lambert.
Villa should go for the win here, just to get a win against Leicester. Unfortunately, it looks like one (or both) of these teams will be relegated, as a real rivalry seems to be developing between the clubs. Maybe Midlands football is cursed. Yeah, that's it. Another reason to try to advance is because the field is pretty weak. Just 10 of the 16 teams remaining are in the top flight, and at least three Premier League sides will be exiting this round.
Really the only non-regular that should start is goalkeeper Shay Given. Mostly because he is the goalkeeper for cup matches, but also because his form in said games has been good. It could be a chance to get Leandro Bacuna into the squad also, as well as re-inserting Ron Vlaar into the lineup.
Up top, Andi Weimann should be given the chance to play centrally. Even if it's alongside Christian Benteke in a two-striker formation, he needs an opportunity to start without being shafted to the wing. It's time for Gabby Agbonlahor to return to the bench.
Carlos Sánchez also should come back into the midfield. He's been out of the lineup for the past couple matches, both of which have been losses. I'm not saying that having him in there would have made Villa beat Hull, but he is a useful player and may be needed here against the Foxes. Alongside him, I'd go with Ashley Westwood. Fabian Delph hasn't looked great lately, and bringing him off the bench could be a good option. Obviously Carles Gil gets the start, but on the other side of midfield, could starting Jack Grealish give the team a spark?
Ciaran Clark and Jores Okore have been very good for the most part as a defensive partnership. However, the team desperately needs leadership, and bringing captain Ron Vlaar back in at centre back would be a good idea. But who does he replace? Or do you switch the pairing entirely? Nathan Baker and Philippe Senderos appear to be fit again, so either could pair Vlaar. I'd drop Okore though.
Surely Leicester will be going for it as well, as it could be a chance to save manager Nigel Pearson's job. I'd expect them to name a near first-choice XI also. A win would be massive for momentum at the East Midlands club.
Aston Villa (4-4-2):
Shay Given; Alan Hutton, Ron Vlaar, Ciaran Clark, Aly Cissokho; Carles Gil, Ashley Westwood, Carlos Sánchez, Jack Grealish; Andi Weimann, Christian Benteke.
Leicester City (4-4-2):
Mark Schwarzer; Danny Simpson, Robert Huth, Wes Morgan, Paul Konchesky; Marc Albrighton, Esteban Cambiasso, Matty James, Jeffery Schlupp; Andrej Kramarić, Leonardo Ulloa.
Who do you think should start for Villa? Let us know in the comments!