Meanwhile, Villa take on last season's Championship playoff winners on the back of three successive victories in all competitions.
On the back of spending of £70m in the transfer market and agreeing long-term deals with Tyrone Mings and Jack Grealish, Dean Smith knows that the stakes are now far higher than simply keeping the West Midlands outfit in the Premier League.
Nevertheless, with three successive wins to begin the season, Smith will be optimistic that everything is in place to ensure that Villa do not experience another battle to remain out of the relegation zone.
Although two of those victories have come against lower-league opposition in the EFL Cup, the 3-0 triumph over early Championship pace-setters Bristol City highlighted the depth of Smith's new-look squad.
As well as setting up a last-16 tie with Stoke City, Villa have also defeated Sheffield United in the Premier League, a result which partly came about due to an early dismissal for the Blades.
Beginning the campaign with three points has eased the pressure ahead of this game, however, and Smith will feel that his side can go in search of another maximum return.
From Fulham's perspective, manager Scott Parker will be torn between viewing this contest as a must-not-lose and seeing it as an ideal opportunity to make headway up the standings.
Being provided with an opening double-header against Arsenal and Leeds United left the Cottagers in a position where they were always going to find it difficult to get a point on the board during the early weeks.
With successive setbacks having now materialised, Parker must now assess the options in his squad having witnessed his second-string post two wins in the EFL Cup.
Parker will not want to rely on the contributions of Aleksandar Mitrovic, but the Serbian's double in the 4-3 defeat at Leeds strengthened the argument that he will have to stay fit for Fulham to remain in this division.
Fulham Premier League form: LL
Fulham form (all competitions): LWLW
Aston Villa Premier League form: W
Aston Villa form (all competitions): WWW
Despite witnessing his Fulham side concede four times at Elland Road, Parker is expected to keep the same backline.
Aboubakar Kamara may switch to the flank to accommodate the return of Mitrovic, who was rested against Sheffield Wednesday in the EFL Cup.
Smith is likely to name the same Villa XI which began the win over Sheffield United.
That would result in Bertrand Traore, who netted on his debut against Bristol City, having to bide his time among the replacements.
Fulham possible starting lineup:
Areola; Tete, Hector, Ream, Bryan; Reed, Zambo Anguissa; Kamara, Cordova-Reid, Cavaleiro; Mitrovic
Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Luiz, Hourihane; Trezeguet, Watkins, Grealish
We say: Fulham 1-1 Aston Villa
With their respective forward lines arguably stronger than their defences, there is scope for this game to feature several goals. However, we are predicting a relatively uneventful affair in the capital, one which could end in a share of the spoils.
Top betting tipOur expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data
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