Villa kick off their FA Cup campaign against Championship side Sheffield United in a game which could see former Blade Kyle Walker return to the club to make his Villa debut after being signed on loan from Tottenham yesterday. Gerard Houllier will be hoping the away trip can diffuse the current pressure on his sides recent relegation form in the league which saw the club drop into the drop zone for the first time after a 1-0 home defeat to Sunderland. The Frenchman has lifted the trophy with Liverpool before and will aim to distract the Villa owner’s from their league standing with a Cup run of any kind. Some are suggesting that were Villa to lose the game, the following fixture against fierce rivals Birmingham could well be make or break on Houllier’s short reign at the club. Team news can be found in the
United are under new management themselves after life long Blades fan Micky Adams was appointed as Gary Speed’s replacement after the Welshman called time on his short stint as club manage to take control of national side. Adams is yet to win in his first to games but will be hoping that the sides last home outing against Doncaster, in which they came back from 2 down to steal a point, will be a confidence boost for his struggling side.
The new boss is not fortunate to have a full squad to choose from however, with a number of first team regulars out of action. Striker Richard Cresswell has joined the injury list consisting of Matty Lowton (groin), Richard Wright (thigh), Nyron Nosworthy and Stephen Jordan (both ankle). Stephen Quinn remains suspended and is accompanied in the same vain by loan signing from Sunderland, Andy Reid.
Gerard Houllier has fewer selection concerns although he is without Heskey for the trip after the forward was dismissed in the defeat to Sunderland last time out. More worryingly for the Frenchman will see this ban stretch over the next fixture away to the Blues. Luke Young and Fabian Delph have both failed to shake off knee injuries and miss out.
It is yet to be seen as to whether Houllier will give youth a chance once more in what wouldn’t normally be a high pressure game. Marc Albrighton, Barry Bannan, Jonathan Hogg, Eric Lichaj and Nathan Delfouneso will all be hoping to join the remaining youngster in the previous two sides, Ciaran Clark in the starting XI. New 20-year-old signing Kyle Walker was given the green light by Spurs manager Harry Redknapp to feature against his old club and will be desperate to make a return to Sheffield after an impressive spell at QPR.
Pre Match Predictions
Possible Starting XI: Friedel; Walker, Cuellar, Dunne, Clark; Albrighton, Reo-Coker, Bannan, Downing; A Young; Delfouneso
Key Man: Kyle Walker
Goalscorer(s): Bannan, Young
Final Score: 0-2
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