Aston Villa v Blackburn

21 September 2010 10:10
Aston Villa will assess centre-back Richard Dunne, who hobbled off against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday with a knee injury.Winger Stewart Downing is expected to be fit despite suffering a gashed shin at the weekend. [LNB]Blackburn midfielder Martin Olsson is expected to be available after recovering from a shoulder injury, [LNB]Defender Ryan Nelsen, who needed pain-killing injections to play against Fulham, is unlikely to feature. [LNB][LNB] MATCH PREVIEW After a six-year absence, Gerard Houllier returns to English football, with Blackburn Rovers providing the opposition for his first game in charge of Aston Villa. [LNB]Houllier twice won the League Cup during his time as Liverpool boss, with the 2001 triumph against Birmingham his first trophy in charge of the Anfield club. [LNB]Defeat in last season's Carling Cup final ultimately proved the beginning of the end for Houllier's predecessor at Villa Park, Martin O'Neill. The hangover from the Wembley loss to Manchester United saw Villa lose momentum in the race for a Champions League place, with O'Neill departing in the summer. [LNB]Villa had booked their place in the final courtesy of a thrilling 7-4 aggregate win against Blackburn in the semi-finals. Though the margin of victory was comfortable, Rovers boss Sam Allardye later criticised referee Martin Atkinson, claiming Villa's opener in the second leg should not have stood.[LNB] MATCH FACTS Head-to-head[LNB]• Aston Villa's 1-0 defeat by Blackburn on the final day of last season was their first loss in eight home games against Rovers. [LNB]• Villa had won six of the previous seven games, including meetings in both cup competitions last season. [LNB][LNB] Have your say on the game Aston Villa[LNB]• Villa are facing fellow Premier League opposition in the Carling Cup for the fifth round running. [LNB]• The last match Gerard Houllier took charge of in English football was Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Newcastle in May 2004. [LNB]• Villa have won the competition five times (the most recent being 1996), and have been runners-up on three occasions. [LNB]Blackburn[LNB]• Rovers have only failed to score in one of their previous 14 Carling Cup ties - that was the 1-0 semi-final first leg defeat to Villa last season. [LNB]• Sam Allardyce's side have won only two of their last 17 away games in league and cup. [LNB]• Blackburn, winners in 2002, have reached at least the last eight in four of the last five seasons. The exception was 2006/07, when Chelsea dismissed them at the third-round stage.

Source: BBC_Sport