Those teams …
Fabio Silva starts up front for Wolves, the 19-year-old making his first Premier League start. Behind him, Ruben Neves and Wily Boly are dropped, with Romain Saiss coming into defence.
VIlla have a teenager of their own making his top flight debut, with Jacob Ramsey starting in place oif Conor Hourihane. They mystery player rumoured to have picked up an injury is Trezeguet, who has suffered a laceration to his head and isn’t in the matchday squad. Bertrand Traore comes in for him. Nine of today’s Villa team have started every Premier League match this season.
Wolves v Aston Villa line-ups
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Patricio, Saiss, Coady, Marcal, Semedo, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Podence, Traore, Silva, Neto.
Subs: Ruddy, Ait-Nouri, Neves, Boly, Vitinha, Kilman, Otasowie.
Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Ramsey, Traore, Watkins, Grealish.
Subs: Steer, Hourihane, Nakamba, El Ghazi, Guilbert, Elmohamady, Hause.
Dean Smith speaks …
“I think we are certainly closer to them than we were last season,” says the Aston Villa manager, who are in twelfth place, two points and two places behind Wolves. “With the quality we have added to our team I believe we have certainly done that.”
Speaking about Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley’s breach of coronavirus regulations after the pair attended a birthday dinner in London last weekend, Smith said he had dealt with the matter.
“Has this week been difficult to handle?” he asked. “No. I spoke about it and gave my opinions. I have reminded the players about their responsibilities and we have moved on.” Grealish, now on his second strike as far as covid shenanigans are concerned, has since tested negative negative for the virus and can play today.
at 6.28am EST
Nuno Espirito Santo speaks …
“We are fully aware of what it means to play against Aston Villa,” said the Wolves manager in his pre-match press conference. “It’s always a big match and means a lot to our fans. Unfortunately, they will not be in Molineux to give us a push, but for sure they’ll be supporting at home and wishing us the best. We have to compete with all our strength.
“It’s a difficult game. It will require from us consistency through the actions, the unit compact, and taking advantage when we have the ball with the talented players we have – having good possession to unbalance Villa.
“We expect a very tough game, for sure, and a very enthusiastic game. It’s a derby and they’re always special.”
Early Aston Villa team news
Aston Villa have had a fortnight off due to the postponement of their match against Newcastle last weekend, a break that’s given Dean Smith’s squad an unexpected opportunity to rest and recuperate. He has a largely fit squad to choose from but is without one big name in Ross Barkley, the midfielder currently sidelined with a hamstring injury.
The word from Molineux is that Smith has one other player who started their most recent game against West Ham unavailable through injury, but the identity of the man in question is not yet in the public domain.
Early Wolves team news …
Wolves are without striker Raul Jimenez for the forseeable future following the fractured skull he suffered in their recent win over Arsenal. The Mexican paid a welcome visit to the club’s training ground during the week and may attend this afternoon’s game if his doctor gives him permission. We wish him well in his recovery. Back in training after undergoing surgery on a knee injury, Jonny will not play today.
Premier League: Wolves v Aston Villa
Wolves entertain Aston Villa in this Saturday lunchtime West Midlands derby (other West Midlands derbies are available), with both teams hoping to get back to winning ways after defeats in their most recent Premier League outings. Kick-off at Molineux is at 12.30pm (GMT) but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.
at 6.24am EST