4-3-3 – Whelan, Lansbury and Hourihane

Sitting at the base of an three-man midfield, Whelan’s ability to anchor the space between his side’s defence and midfield would allow Bruce to field a more attacking midfield.

Villa manager just 47 Championship goals in 46 games last year and being able to find goals from another source of the park instead of Jonathan Kodjia is crucial.

Starting playmakers Henri Lansbury and Conor Hourihane in front of Whelan would give Villa much more bite in the final third, with Whelan feeding the duo.