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1st Jan, 2017 | 12:16pm

Aston Villa expected 4-2-3-1 v Cardiff: Striker axed in three changes

By Amir Mir

Aston Villa could make three changes to the team that travels to Wales on Monday afternoon to take on Cardiff.

Steve Bruce’s side picked up a 1-1 draw against promotion rivals Leeds on Thursday night and will be now looking to secure three points against Neil Warnock’s men.

Striker Jonathan Kodjia, midfielder Ashley Westwood and Leandro Bacuna could all be axed with Ross McCormack, Gary Gardner and Albert Adomah possibly coming into the starting XI.

Villa are still awaiting news on whether Ivory Coast international Kodjia can play on Monday before he takes part in the Africa Cup of Nations – therefore at this short notice, he is unlikely to play.

As a result, McCormack could come into the side as he will be looking to score his fourth goal for the club after breaking a four-month goal drought against Burton Albion on Boxing Day.

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Academy graduate Gardner, who missed the last fixture through injury, is expected to start ahead of Westwood and partner Mile Jedinak in the middle of the park.

Winger Albert Adomah, who impressed as a substitute against Leeds, could replace Bacuna on the right with Jordan Ayew starting on the left flank.

Furthermore, Jack Grealish could be selected to start in behind McCormack and provide the Scotsman with the service he desperately requires.

At the back, Bruce should decide to stick with the same defensive line that has added stability since he took charge in mid-October.

Jordan Amavi and Alan Hutton are set to start as full-backs, while Nathan Baker will look to continue his impressive partnership with James Chester at the heart of the club’s defence.

In other Aston Villa team news, these seven senior players must leave in January in order to aid the club’s promotion.