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Villa vs Forest: sleeping giants clash

Aston Villa play Nottingham Forest for the first time in a while.

Aston Villa and Forest's last clash, in 1999

The international break is over, and Aston Villa are back this Sunday in search of their second league win of the season.

Most of the team will be back, anyways.

Jack Grealish and Mile Jedinak suffered injuries representing the England U21's and Australia respectively, and both therefore are doubts for this Sunday's game. Potentially replacing them will be new signings Jonathan Kodjia, Richie De Laet and Albert Adomah, and all three will want to stake a claim as first team regulars.

Up next for Villa are Nottingham Forest, who will be facing Aston Villa for the first time in a while. Here's what happened the last time the two sides met:

The last time we met

Nottingham Forest last visited Villa Park in April 1999, on the tail end of a disastrous season for them. Against Aston Villa, their misery was compounded. A 2-0 defeat to John Gregory's Aston Villa mathematically relegated Forest from the Carling Premiership. To this day, Forest are yet to return to the top flight.

Former Aston Villa manager 'Big' Ron Atkinson was manager of Nottingham Forest that day, and not a day later, as he resigned and retired within hours of the final whistle (though he did finish that season in charge). For Aston Villa, they finished in 6th place, just missing out on European football.

Despite the game taking place some 17 years ago, highlights of the game exist. The internet is a wonderful place! Check it out:

Mark Draper and Gareth Barry scored the goals as Villa coasted past 20th place Forest. Notably, this was Gareth Barry's first goal for Aston Villa, and the first of 64 career goals for the then hot prospect. Draper's goal meanwhile, was helped into the back of the net by Forest's Norwegian defender Jon Olav Hjelde.

Just like it has the potential to do this Sunday, injuries played a big part in the Villa lineup back in '99. Though he had little to do, keeper Michael Oakes was only on the field due to first choice keeper Mark Bosnich's injury. Gareth Barry came of the bench to score his first goal due to an injury to Dion Dublin, and Ugo Ehiogu returned from a serious injury to make a second half substitute appearance. Here's to hoping that Sunday's game isn't affected as much by injuries.

This season

Still in the Championship, Forest aren't really expected the challenge at the top of the table, but they've started the season well, nonetheless. Forest are 3-2 so far this season, and currently sit in 7th place. Forest have scored 3+ in each of their wins, but crucially, they are yet to keep a clean sheet. Goals should be expected in this one.

Over the summer, Forest were a little less exuberant in their transfer dealings compared to Villa. Indeed, they spent less than £5million, though they still managed to strengthen their squad, which is impressive, all things considered. Shrewd free transfers and loans saw the arrivals of players with international experience, including Damien Perquis, Armand Traore, Apostolos Vellios and Pajtim Kasami. And one more, notable signing.

Denmark v Sweden - UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier: Play-Off Second Leg Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The Lord of mediocre European strikers has graced Nottingham Forest with his presence!

No, seriously, Forest have signed Bendtner on a free transfer, following a disastrous spell in Germany with Wolfsburg. He's still just 28 years old, but it may be too late for the Dane to salvage his career. In any case, we won't find out this Sunday, as Bendtner isn't quite fit enough to play. Is that a good thing? I'm not so sure.

Bendtner night not be the only Forest striker missing this weekend. Summer transfer target Britt Assombalonga faces a race against the clock to regain his fitness ahead of the weekend, but it may be too soon. With Matty Fryatt and Nicolao Dumitru ready to step in if need be, Forest still do have a dangerous strike force without their two big players.

With Bendtner and Assombalonga hurt for Forest; and Jedinak and Grealish for Villa, it seems like injuries are set to play a part in the fixture between two former Champions League winners once again.