24-year-old to steal the show: Three things to expect from Aston Villa in clash v Brighton
COMMENT By Danny Wright
Aston Villa welcome Brighton to the West Midlands on Sunday in what is the final fixture of the Championship season.
Steve Bruce and his men know that the south coast club will arrive at Villa Park in the search of three points that will secure themselves the league title.
Here, Football Insider analyses three things we can expect from Villa in the clash.
24-year-old to steal the show
Sam Johnstone will be playing for the final time before his Villa loan deal comes to an end and he will be desperate to end his temporary spell with a bang. The 24-year-old goalkeeper will have a huge task on his hands if he is to keep the Brighton attack at bay. Chris Hughton’s side will be hungry to get goals but Villa will be able to rely on Johnstone to stop themselves from being humiliated. The West Midlands club are likely to face a second defeat in a row at the hands of Brighton, but Johnstone will end up being the home side’s man of the match.
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Gabriel Agbonlahor cameo
The 30-year-old has appeared off the bench in the last two Villa fixtures with mixed results. His 59th minute introduction in the second-city derby clash with Birmingham saw him change the outlook of the entire game as he scored the winning goal, but against Blackburn last week he offered very little input at all. However we can still expect Agbonlahor to come off the bench once more against Brighton due to Jonathan Kodjia breaking his ankle. The three-times England international has a lot to make up to the Villa fans for his terrible displays over the last few years and at least a few minutes against the Gulls will give him a bit of a chance to make up for that.
Mile Jedinak absence to be huge
Brighton are very likely to earn themselves the Championship title because Villa simply cannot function without Jedinak. The experienced midfielder is a doubt for the game due to a groin injury and that could prove costly to Villa’s chances of ending the season on a high. Bruce’s side have failed to win a single game in which Jedinak hasn’t taken part in this season. Out of the nine times the Australian international has been absent, Villa have lost on six occasions. Their awful run of form in January and February also coincided with a Jedinak injury, and a game after he returned they began a streak of seven wins in eight games.
In other Aston Villa news, the club are expected to make one change to their line-up against Brighton.