By Amir Mir
David Prutton believes Brighton will beat Aston Villa 2-0 at the Amex stadium on Friday night in their Championship clash.
Steve Bruce travels to Sussex with a five-game unbeaten record since taking charge of the Midlands giants in early October.
During that time Villa have picked up three wins and two draws, including beating Blackburn 2-1 in their last fixture on home soil.
However, their opponents for the Friday clash are unbeaten in ten league games and boast the best defensive record in the second-tier with only nine goals conceded.
Former Nottingham Forest midfielder Prutton has explained why he is favouring the home side in this crucial league fixture.
“I’m leaning towards Brighton because of how well they have done so far this season,” Prutton wrote in his Sky Sports column.
“I saw them against Bristol City just before the break and they were clinical – if not with a little bit of luck on their side – but also they were very composed.
“Villa have been on the up under Steve Bruce so far, but that could be brought to an end with a Brighton home win.”
Bruce’s men are currently five points off a play-off spot, while the Seagulls hold an automatic place with 34 points to their name, three off leaders Newcastle.
Chris Hughton’s side have already shown promotion credentials this season as proven when they beat Norwich 5-0 on their home turf.
If Villa are to pose a serious threat to the top six then they must put in a performance worthy of challenging for the race to the Premier League.
Seagulls striker Glenn Murray will be Villa’s biggest threat on the night as the former Crystal Palace player has notched up nine goals this season.
In other Aston Villa team news, this is the reason why Ross McCormack will be crucial for Villa’s promotion push this season.