COMMENT By Danny Wright
Aston Villa welcome bitter rivals Birmingham to Villa Park on Sunday in their next Championship fixture.
Steve Bruce and his men know that a win could put their second-city rivals in the relegation zone, providing results elsewhere go in their favour.
Villa can move as high as tenth with three points, but would require a huge swing in goal difference.
Here, Football Insider reveals three things to expect from what is bound to be a fiery encounter:
Grealish to steal show
Jack Grealish returned to the Aston Villa first team against Fulham on Monday with a bang. Although the Villains succumbed to a 3-1 defeat, the 21-year-old managed to find the net to cap an impressive display. The attacker has been in and out of the first team recently after an indifferent season but he is a Villa supporter and will want to do whatever he can against Birmingham on Sunday. He was suspended for the St. Andrews clash earlier this season but will want to prove to both his manager and supporters that he can become a true icon at Villa Park.
A red card
Villa and Birmingham haven’t been the most well behaved teams in the Championship this season and it would be fair to predict that someone will be shown red by the referee on Sunday. Aston Villa players have picked up two red cards this season while Blues have had three. No one was given their marching orders in the 1-1 draw back in October, but with a lot at stake, Bruce could see his side reduced to ten men. Two players that could spark some volatile scenes are Craig Gardner and Paul Robinson, both formerly of West Brom and make no secret about their animosity towards Villa.
Redknapp to be blasted
The newly-appointed Blues boss is set for a baptism of fire at Villa Park and he has already said that it is one of his least favourite grounds to go to. Redknapp accused Villa supporters of trying to hurl a coin at him in the past and that he suffers worse abuse there than anywhere else in England. People can expect the atmosphere to be even more hostile on Sunday as the 70-year-old returns to management in one of the country’s fiercest derbies. Birmingham have to get at least a point in order to keep survival in their own hands so the home crowd will certainly try to act like the 12th man in this game.
In other Aston Villa news, Bruce has made a big selection admission ahead of the second-city clash.