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9th Aug, 2017 | 3:59pm

Aston Villa expected 4-2-3-1 v Colchester: Bruce to avoid banana skin with seven changes

COMMENT By Will Butcher

Steve Bruce is expected to hand a handful of Aston Villa outcasts the chance to shine against League Two side Colchester in Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup clash.

The Championship expert will have one eye on Saturday’s away trip to Cardiff and that should see him rest a number of first-team stars, as he eyes a fifth career promotion to the top flight.

However, he will be aware that Colchester can cause an upset on home soil at the Community Stadium, and must still name a strong squad to face John McGreal’s side.

The Birmingham Mail stated on Tuesday evening that Mile Jedinak, Jonathan Kodjia and Jack Grealish are all injured, while Gary Gardner, Jordan Amavi, Ross McCormack and Tommy Elphick will miss out with their future at Villa Park unclear.

Seven changes are expected, which will see Alan Hutton, John Terry, Glenn Whelan, Leandro Bacuna, Ahmed El-Mohamady, Henri Lansbury and Gabriel Agbonlahor all drop out.

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In come James Bree, Chris Samba, Conor Hourihane, Birkir Bjarnason, Albert Adomah, Josh Onomah and Andre Green.

Jed Steer is likely to be overlooked after failing to make a competitive appearance for three years, and should only be used when Sam Johnstone is unavailable.

Teenage ace Bree has been unlucky not to be given many first-team opportunities and he should be thrown in at right-back, while new signing Samba is likely to replace Terry who will need a rest ahead of Saturday’s clash.

Captain James Chester and Neil Taylor are likely to retain their place, with Elphick and Amavi said to be interesting other clubs.

Bruce is expected to completely change his midfield, with Whelan’s compatriot Hourihane expected to start after watching from the sidelines on Saturday.

Ostracised January signing Bjarnason is also likely to be given a start after impressing during pre-season, and he comes in for Bacuna, with the chance to earn a first-team slot after Bacuna flopped against Hull.

In attack, a first start for Onomah is likely to occur, while Adomah needs game time after recovering from a shin injury. On the left, Davis should be given the chance to rectify his miss against Hull from close range.

Kodjia is still sidelined, so Hogan will be given the chance to build on his solitary goal in claret and blue.

In other Aston Villa news, the Midlands giants are eyeing up two Premier League attackers.