Behind Enemy Lines: Aston Villa

FOLLOWING an excellent 3-1 win over Sheffield United on Saturday, Millwall head to Villa Park this weekend hoping for their first away win of the season.

A change in formation at half-time to a 3-5-2 allowed Mahlon Romeo to move further up the pitch. Romeo impressed and scored on his full Championship debut, and he will be hoping to keep his place in the side this weekend.

Villa currently sit fifth in the Championship table. After a sluggish start, Steve Bruce has got his men firing, winning three of their last four games, drawing the other.

An injury to Jonathon Kodjia has ruled him out for a longer period, whilst Scott Hogan is expected to be out until later this month.

John Terry is also sidelined with a broken metatarsal.

Lucas Ball spoke to Villa fan Adam Fraser ahead of the game.

Twitter: @AFraser

Why do you support Villa?

A few reasons, but it was really a case of right place, right time. Or perhaps wrong place, right time.

My dad and brothers are Everton fans and I grew up in the north west, so the decision to support the team my mum's Midlands-based side of the family traditionally followed (my maternal grandfather used to go to Villa Park as long ago as the 1920s) was a funny one, in retrospect, though it always seemed logical at the time.

It was based on a congruence of family and friends supporting them, of Villa being somewhat resurgent as the 80s turned to the 90s, and David Platt's goal against Belgium at Italia 90 that all caught my imagination to some point. I've never regretted it for a second, honestly.

What's your favourite season supporting the Villans?

I don't know if I would put a particular season on it – there have been glorious times topping the Premier League under John Gregory or challenging for the Champions League spots under Martin O'Neill but we tended to just miss out come the end of the season, so it's hard to see them as pure successes.

It's more the individual moments that stick in the mind – the League Cups in the 1990s, tearing Liverpool apart in the FA Cup semi-final a couple of years ago, the goal against West Ham a few years ago that pretty much guaranteed Premier League safety, Mark Bosnich's incredible penalty shoot-out saves.

If you don't support a team winning regular trophies, those isolated moments are the magical ones.

Have you been impressed by the start to the season?

More than some other Villa fans, I would say, because I have heard plenty of grumbling at a style of football that hasn't really upset me too much.

It's nice to be winning more than we lose after the last few years. I should add that I'm currently working in New York so I am well aware I'm watching on a screen and not dragging myself to the game, which can make the quality of football less upsetting. But I think we are starting to play some nice stuff and we are grinding out results more often than not, which is a nice change from the last few years, which have been dreadful.

What is needed in January to maintain a promotion push?

With Jonathan Kodjia's injury we are light up front. It's good to see Keinan Davis getting game time but it's a lot to ask him to lead the line the whole season.

But I'm not sure who the answer is, as the last few bankers we have signed in terms of proven Championship goal-scorers haven't worked out as well as I would have hoped. I can't imagine Bruce won't go for a target man of some sort to help out, though.

Who are Villa's key men?

Albert Adomah, this season, without a doubt. He's playing with that swagger you get when you are scoring goals. In doing that he's stealing the headlines away from Robert Snodgrass on the other side – but Snodgrass is just quietly creating a ton of chances and is, I think, our best player. You will want to stop the wingers to stop us playing.

Which Millwall players will Bruce's men be wary of?

I'm less worried about individual players and more about one thing – near-post crosses. If Millwall have been doing anything this week, they should have been practicing those.

We've conceded some silly, scrappy goals from them lately. George Saville looks to be having a great season, not just scoring goals but getting his international call-up, but I would hope our midfield can hold their weight against yours given their experience.

Predicted formation and line-up for the home side?


Johnstone; Hutton, Chester, Samba, Taylor; Whelan, Hourihane; Snodgrass, Onomah, Adomah; Davis.

(Potential for Henri Lansbury, who scored off the bench against Leeds, to come into midfield. Jack Grealish likely to feature off the bench.)

Finally, a score prediction?

Oh, I'll go Villa 2-1 Millwall. But I'm never, ever right.

Graphic: @ShedCreative