The Villa Appetiser: Hull City v Aston Villa 2018
Finally! The international break is over.
Those two weeks have helped Villa supporters forget about our last two matches, and hopefully the break will have given our players a refreshed mindset about the remaining fixtures.
Unfortunately, after Easter Friday’s results Villa are cut adrift from the automatic places by ten points, it doesn’t look good.
Villa will have to win out their remaining matches to have any chance of catching Cardiff and pipping Fulham. It starts at Hull.
It’s another televised away fixture, this time against a Hull side struggling after their demotion to the Championship.
Can Bruce make a winning return to his old club?
18th in the league table with the 18th best home record.
Last five matches at home: W 2, D 2, L 1
4th in league table with 6th best away record.
Last five matches away: W 3, L 2
Nigel Adkins on Villa clash
“All of our focus is on this next game which is an important one against an Aston Villa side that is doing everything it can to get back into the Premier League.
“It’s a game that also sees the return of Steve Bruce to the KCOM Stadium, a man who did fantastic things for this football club, and I’d like to think that he will get a great reception because he was pivotal in the most successful period in this club’s history.
“Villa have lost their last two games, so they will be looking for a reaction to that and it’s a big game.
“I’m sure it will be a great spectacle, and we have to make sure that we’re at the top of our game for this one.
“We put our own little league table together for the final 16 games of the season and we’re doing well in that with four wins and a draw from eight games so far.
“Our form has been good. Yes, there have been one or two games when we haven’t performed as we would have wanted and haven’t got the results that we wanted, but more consistently we have performed well.
“It’s about controlling the controllables, the old adage, and focussing on our own performance. A lot of things will go on around and about us, but we have to block that out and just focus on what we need to go and do.”
Steve Bruce on promotion chances
“All the time I’ve been here, we’ve been working towards what the next few months will bring.
“It was to be there or thereabouts, and it’s upon us now.
“It’s a big challenge. We’ve had a disappointing last few results, so let’s put that right.
“Now is about who can go and put those runs together. Who can go and get four wins out of their next five?
“We’ve lost a few in a row – it can happen to anyone else. Let’s go for the points target that we’ve aimed for all season and see where it leaves us.
“We’ve still got a good chance.”
and on Hull return
“I’ve got good memories overall. If I can bring the success to Aston Villa that I brought to Hull City, then I’ll be delighted.
“I had the relegation, but came back from it and got promoted again. It shows the spirit that was at the club.
“I had good players and a good time. Four excellent years. It’ll be nice to go back.”
Ex-Hull man Snodgrass has 13 league assists this season, the most by a Villa player since ashley young in the 2007/08 season (with 14).
29th August 1987 – Hull City 2 Aston Villa 1
A crowd of just over 8,000 watched Hull take on Villa the last time we played a league game away at Hull outside of the top division.
A penalty from Warren Aspinall wasn’t enough to prevent a 2-1 loss.
One to Watch
Abel Hernandez – Once a rumoured Villa target, the striker has scored six goals in four home league games this season, despite missing a large part of the season through injury.
Hull have only lost one of their previous 10 home matches
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
It ain’t over until it’s over as the cliche goes, but you can’t deny the general mood around Villa has been dampened by those two unexpected defeats. Any realistic bid for automatic promotion looks to be over.
Of course we have the squad quality to turn it around, but it’s out of the team’s hands now.
Hull City have suffered a disappointing return to the Championship and have spent most of the season cautiously eyeing the relegation zone, but Nigel Adkins has managed to stop the rot since his appointment in December.
Having lost 3-0 against Birmingham City just before the international break, Adkins and his team will be eager to bounce back.
There are unhappy memories when we think back to our last visit to Hull City, a 2-0 loss in 2015, and we couldn’t manage to beat Saturday’s opponents in the first game of this season, a match in which Agbonlahor actually scored
As well as this, Hull have only lost one of their previous 10 home matches.
With Villa looking a little low on confidence, it could be a tricky game.
“Let’s go for the points target that we’ve aimed for all season and see where it leaves us” – BRUCE ON VILLA
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
One point springs to mind – King Kodjia is back!
While it’s unlikely he’ll be involved from the start, his return to the squad is a timely boost for Villa after two disappointing losses.
As well as that, the international break has given our injury situation time to improve, with Hutton and Tuanzebe likely to be available for selection too.
Hull have only won one of their last 13 matches against Aston Villa (in all competitions). That was a 2-0 win under Bruce, and he’ll be eager to get the three points after he left the club in the summer of 2016.
The Villa history books give cause for optimism. We’ve not lost back-to-back away league trips to Hull since the 70’s, and we’re undefeated in 9 of our last 10 matches against them in all competitions.
With key players back at a ground where historically we’ve done very well, there’s a good chance we can get back on track.
As long as automatic promotion is mathematically possible, we need as many points as we can get.
With 3 games in a week, the pressures on, and now’s the time to get back to winning ways.
Follow Lewis on Twitter here – @rymondfootball