Aston Villa expected 4-2-3-1 v Wolves: Bruce to make five changes
By Will Butcher
Steve Bruce is expected to ring the changes in his first match as Aston Villa manager on Saturday against Midlands rivals Wolves.
The former Hull boss is looking to ignite the Championship strugglers, after being confirmed as Villa’s fourth manager in 18 months following owner Tony Xia’s decision to sack Roberto Di Matteo.
First-team stars Ross McCormack, Pierluigi Gollini and Leandro Bacuna are set to return while Bruce is set to give fringe players Jordan Amavi and Aaron Tshibola a chance to shine.
Gollini is set to play after being left out of Di Matteo’s last match in charge prior to the international break, as they lost 2-0 to Preston. The former Manchester United stopper is likely to Mark Bunn between the sticks.
Versatile star Bacuna has returned from suspension and could take over at right-back, with Scotland international Alan Hutton expected to start from the bench.
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Another Scotland international, Ross McCormack, is set to be given a free role behind £15million striker Jonathan Kodjia, as he looks to build on his goal for Ivory Coast during the international break.
Jack Grealish will miss out as Bruce is likely to opt for pace as he implements his favoured counter attacking style against Wolves. Albert Adomah and Jordan Ayew are expected to offer pace on the flanks.
With Ashley Westwood and Gary Gardner failing to impress alongside Australian hardman Mile Jedinak, Bruce could give £5million signing Tshibola a run in the side.
A win for Villa will see them pick up just their second win of the season in all competitions, as well as moving them away from the Championship drop zone.
In other Aston Villa news, this senior trio have been shown the exit door at Villa Park following the arrival of Bruce.