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Preview: Aston Villa vs. Nottingham Forest - prediction, team news, head to head

:Headline: Preview: Aston Villa vs. Nottingham Forest - prediction, team news, head to head:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Pre-Season Friendlies clash between Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.
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Aston Villa welcome Nottingham Forest to their Bodymoor Heath training ground on Wednesday as they look to bounce back from a defeat to Stoke City.

Meanwhile, Forest play the penultimate game of their pre-season campaign having been held by Crewe Alexandra last time out.

Match preview

At a time when speculation persists regarding the future of Jack Grealish, Villa boss Dean Smith is keen to ensure that any distractions do not spill over to the pitch.

Smith, who has spent the past week in isolation, witnessed his side ease to victory over Walsall on Wednesday, but the West Midlands outfit were brought back down to earth at the weekend.

Although Villa were still missing a number of key men, a strong starting lineup found themselves 2-0 behind to Stoke before Wesley was sent off soon after his introduction from the substitutes' bench.

With Villa just two games into their pre-season schedule, Smith will not dwell on succumbing to defeat against the mid-table Championship outfit.

Nevertheless, on his return to club facilities this week, he will demand more from both his established senior players and emerging prospects.

From Forest's perspective, Chris Hughton will feel that his squad are ready to step up the level of opposition after three successive games against teams from the third and fourth tier.

Following wins at Port Vale and Northampton Town, Forest went two goals ahead at Crewe before they were pegged back during the closing 15 minutes.

Hughton will feel that conceding twice in four minutes was a consequence of substitutions and a lack of sharpness, but it still represented a setback ahead of the visit to Birmingham.

On the positive side, Brennan Johnson strengthened his chances of earning a spot in the Forest starting lineup this season with strikes either side of half time.

Aston Villa pre-season friendlies form:
  • W
  • L

Nottingham Forest pre-season friendlies form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Team News

With Villa having made sweeping changes on the hour mark at the bet365 Stadium, Smith will contemplate alterations to his starting lineup.

Ezri Konsa, Matt Targett, Jacob Ramsey and Keinan Davis appear most likely to be recalled to the first XI, with Lamare Bogarde and Aaron Ramsey among the players expected to drop down to the bench.

Hughton was more selective with his alterations against Crewe, making just two changes before the 75th minute.

Joe Worrall, Jack Colback and Lewis Grabban were among the players to complete the game at the Mornflake Stadium, potentially resulting in their game time being restricted on Wednesday.

Head To Head

Villa and Forest were regular foes before the start of the new millennium, but their rivalry has since been placed on the backburner.

Just six meetings have taken place since 1999, with Villa recording three wins and two draws from Championship fixtures between 2016 and 2019.

We say: Nottingham Forest 1-2 Aston Villa

Having been stunned by Stoke at the weekend, we expect Villa to up the ante on Wednesday.

Forest have more minutes in their legs, but that may count for little if Villa show their true quality behind-closed-doors. body check tags ::

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Championship Table
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3Coventry CityCoventry9612126619
5Stoke CityStoke95221310317
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7Huddersfield TownHuddersfield94141312113
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22Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest9126813-55
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24Derby CountyDerby924368-2-2
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