By support

20th Jan, 2017 | 6:04am

Experienced attacker axed in Bruce 4-2-3-1: Aston Villa best possible XI to face Preston

COMMENT By Matt Farr

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce should axe experienced striker Gabriel Agbonlahor from his side to face Preston in the Championship on Saturday.

Agbonlahor has yet to find the back of the net from 11 first-team appearances this season, and should be replaced by youngster Andre Green in Bruce’s starting XI.

Bruce should also bring back Ashley Westwood and Jack Grealish in what would be three changes from his side that lost to Wolves last weekend.

Westwood and Grealish would slot back into their respective midfield roles in place of Aaron Tshibola and Leandro Bacuna, to give Aston Villa more stability against a Preston side that has been in good form of late.

After making his first appearance for the club against Wolves, Steve Bruce should stick with Sam Johnstone in between the sticks.

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Johnstone is likely to be tested by Preston forwards Callum Robinson and Jordan Hugill at Villa Park, so Bruce should also name an unchanged defence.

Aiden McGeady will also provide a substantial threat to Villa’s defence, but full-backs Jordan Amavi and Alan Hutton are the best men for the job.

Midfielder Aaron Tshibola has been the preference since returning to the first-team squad, but Ashley Westwood would be a better fit on Saturday due to his all round-quality.

He and Mile Jedinak have been tasked with patrolling the midfield for much of the season so far, and Bruce should stick to the experienced partnership against Preston.

Andre Green should be handed his first league start for the club, after a series of impressive displays as a substitute. He looked incisive and full of energy during a brief spell against Tottenham in the FA Cup earlier in the month, and Bruce could use that on Saturday.

Lastly, due to a lack of alternatives, Ross McCormack should lead the line once again for Villa, despite scoring just three goals this season.

A win for Villa could see them move up as high as 10th in the Championship, and end their run of three games without a win.

Victory for Preston, meanwhile, could send Simon Grayson’s side within just three points of the play-offs.

In other Aston Villa news, a reliable journalist has revealed Aston Villa are keen on signing this Championship defender.

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