Like many managers, Bruce has bemoaned the international break, but Brighton boss Chris Hughton will be equally frustrated.
Before the break, Brighton had recorded four consecutive wins, and even more impressively, all of them were accompanied by clean sheets.
Indeed as Villa were once the draw specialists of the division, Brighton are the clean sheet kings. They’ve managed 11 of them during their 16 fixtures so far – four more than any of their league rivals.
It seems pointless to focus on Villa’s unfortunate statistical records due to the great job Steve Bruce has done so far.
The fact that only Nottingham Forest have dropped more points (17) from leading positions than Villa (15) this season, however, is a little worrying, especially when you consider Brighton’s recent 5-0 demolition of promotion-chasing Norwich.
Mile Jedinak is the kind of tough-tackling midfielder you’d want on your side in a tricky away game like this, but due to his travels his inclusion still hangs in the balance, after Bruce has suggested he might rethink his earlier decision to rest him.
Brighton haven’t lost since early September, and have only conceded three goals in 15 hours of football. They’ve lost just once in 19 matches at the Amex.
Villa have at times struggled to break down defensive teams from the lower end of the table, so to get anything from Brighton given their run of form is certainly a difficult proposition.
Besides, we haven’t done so well when live on Sky Sports recently…
“we know what we’re up against but we’ve done okay ourselves recently” – BRUCE ON brighton clash
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
The gulf in league places might not be as extreme as it was when we won against Brighton in the FA Cup in 2010, but the form books still give reason for optimism. We’re unbeaten in our last five head-to-heads (W 4, D 1) against Brighton.
We head to Brighton having lost just one of 11 matches, so our defensive record is OK.
A betting man may well consider that a draw is on the cards here. Brighton are ruthless at home, but Villa have a new found resilience under Bruce’s guidance.
While a point would represent a decent night’s work, we need to keep collecting the points – don’t forget we’re not even in the top half of the Championship yet.
With Kodjia in excellent form and Ayew returning, however, a few goal-scoring opportunities and some solid defending might lead to three points at Brighton.