Aston Villa

Aston Villa will battle with Derby County in the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium for a place to Premier League next season.

The two teams clash on what promises to be an entertaining afternoon on Bank Holiday Monday in the capital.

Heading into the final itself, Dean Smith’s Villa are the red-hot favourites.
Having squeezed past local rivals West Bromwich Albion on penalties, the Villans now head into their second consecutive playoff final.

They missed out last season as they lost to Fulham at Wembley and will hope to avoid a repeat this time around.

However, their form since Smith arrived in the West Midlands has been stunning – an aspect that will give them immense confidence.

The team have won 11 out of their last 14 games in all competitions which includes embarking on a stunning run of ten league victories in a row.

Should they continue that winning run, it would see the team make their return to the Premier League following their prior relegation at the conclusion of the 2015/16 campaign.

Villa have no new injury or suspension worries ahead of the game so could potentially name an unchanged XI.

Defender Axel Tuanzebe was a slight doubt after suffering an ankle injury in the semi-final clash with West Brom but has been passed fit.

Orjan Nyland remains restricted to the sidelines, whilst defender James Chester is also a doubt.

Elsewhere, Frank Lampard’s Rams have also found form just at the right time as they aim to make their first return to the English top-flight since the disastrous 2007/08 campaign.

Derby have only lost two out of their last 14 games in all competitions, form which saw them confirm their place in the playoffs.

Despite that, it initially looked as though they would not be at Wembley following a 1-0 defeat to Leeds United at Pride Park in the semi-finals.

They then staged a brilliant comeback to win the second-leg 4-2 at Elland Road. Rams’ supporters will be hoping that this year really can see the team regain their place in the Premier League following recent failed attempts.

In four out of the last six seasons, Derby have reached the playoffs only to be defeated by Fulham, Hull City and Queens Park Rangers – the latter defeat coming in a gutting loss at Wembley Stadium.

Scott Malone is definitely ruled out for the Rams after getting sent off in the second-leg win against Leeds so veteran defender Ashley Cole is likely to come into the team.

Long-term absentees Curtis Davies and Craig Forsyth have both returned to training but are highly unlikely to make the matchday squad.

On-loan Leicester City midfielder Andy King has also rejoined the squad but again is not going to play a part.

Meanwhile, forward Martyn Waghorn could return to action after missing out against Leeds.

GO128 verdict: Aston Villa win  

#go128 #AstonVilla #DerbyCounty #EFL #AVLDER #PlayOffFinal

Below is the latest highlight video when both team met up:

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