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Preview: Aston Villa v Hull City
03 Dec 2009 - 14:05:13
Aston Villa will be looking to get back to winning ways against Hull City at Villa Park following successive draws in the Premier League.
The Tigers themselves are a rejuvenated outfit after embarking on a four-game unbeaten run with two wins and two draws that has helped them climb away from the foot of the table and manager Phil Brown is breathing a little easier - for now.
They face Arsenal and champions Manchester United in December and with tricky clashes against Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers before the year is out, Brown will know the importance of keeping new chairman Adam Pearson happy.
The hosts have lost just one in their last eight league games and sit comfortably in sixth position and a win on Saturday would see them add pressure on Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, who occupy the positions directly above them as the chase for top-four finish continues to gather momentum.
A 4-2 success away at Portsmouth in the Carling Cup quarter-finals has added further optimism with England quartet Emile Heskey, James Milner, Stewart Downing and Ashley Young amongst the goals.
They continue to impress national team manager Fabio Capello ahead of the World Cup in South Africa next summer.
Worryingly for Hull, Villa haven't lost at home since the opening day of the season and with the visitors' measly return of two points from a possible 21, it will be difficult for them to turn the tide.
Stephen Warnock has struggled with a virus in recent times but featured in midweek while James Collins (groin) and long-term absentee Curtis Davies (dislocated shoulder) are still short of fitness.
Brown has his own injury concerns with Seyi Olofinjana struggling to overcome a hamstring strain and the inspirational Ian Ashbee is unlikely to feature again this term after tearing his cruciate knee ligament.
Lasts season saw Aston Villa squeeze to a narrow 1-0 victory thanks to a goal on the half-hour mark through Norway striker John Carew.