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Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest preview: Will the real Aston Villa please stand up?

Steve Bruce promises expansive Aston Villa; fans wait for proof coming off second league win & mid-week cup loss.

Aston Villa v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship
Villa fans are wondering the same thing...
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images,

On Tuesday we asked if Aston Villa were going to play the cup tie with a view toward rotation or momentum. Fans got rotation — and it was as bad as it could have been. However — it was a cup match which means it doesn’t really matter toward the one shiny goal of the season — promotion.

The Nottingham Forest match is the focus — but the question remains can the squad keep the momentum from the second win of the campaign from last weekend and recover from the mid-week disappointment. It appears as if the same starting lineup will be available to Steve Bruce — who admitted that two up top pair of Keinan Davis and Jonathan Kodjia paired up perfectly up top. Kodjia was a risk to start last week coming off a long term injury — but 60 minutes under his belt means he should be ready for a little more versus Forest (though I would not expect him to play the whole match especially with Hogan available and the impressive running the Irishman did last weekend — though the verbal confrontation mid-week probably doesn’t help his cause).

The only way out of the English Championship is through regular wins. Villa have failed at that thus far this season. The calendar has not flipped so far that promotion is not longer a possibility but current results cannot continue along the current trajectory. The math doesn’t lie — win or stay in the league.

On the injury front — it has not been a week of good news. Hogan is clear for action — the rest of the list are not. Lansbury is dealing with a knee issue, Jedinak’s never-ending groin injury continues to prevent the Austrian midfield from showing just how vital a piece of the Villa puzzle he is, and Gabby is still out. On the plus side, Jack Grealish is back with the team and on the practice field after a scary kidney issue — though he is expected to still be out for quite awhile.

In the end — most of the same squad that found a way to win versus Barnsley are available. And I point the reading audience to the final quote in the club’s write up entitled Bruce: You’ll see a more expansive Aston Villa now: “Now I believe we have a squad capable of getting out of the division.”

That is a clear statement of intent — fans should take notice -- and the manager should be expected to be held to the standard he expressed.

But all supporters are left wondering — what Aston Villa team will show up?