Aston Villa vs Derby County : The Championship playoff final is just around the corner and with it comes the prize of being promoted to the Premier League.
It’s a second appearance in as many years for Aston Villa, but they’ll be looking to go one step further following last year’s defeat to Fulham. But for Derby County, they’ll be looking to get back into the top flight and right some wrongs from their last appearance in the Premier League.
It’s set to be an outstanding encounter between two of the Championship’s most exciting teams, with all eyes on who will join Norwich City and Sheffield United in the Premier League next season.
ASTON VILLA manager Dean Smith has two key selection decisions to make ahead of the Championship play-off final against Derby on Monday (3pm).
Therefore, team selection will be crucial for both sides and Smith is not likely to tinker too much with a starting XI that has performed so well in recent weeks.
Aston Villa vs Derby County
Villa have been the Championship’s form team since the beginning of March, winning 10 consecutive matches which saw them shoot up the table and finish fifth.
However, defeat to Fulham in the showpiece final 12 months ago will still be fresh in the minds of most of the squad so there will be no room for slip-ups.
Centre-back Axel Tuanzebe is an injury doubt after limping off in the second leg of the play-off semi-final victory over West Brom.
The on-loan Manchester United defender is struggling with an ankle knock and could be replaced by Kortney Hause or Tommy Elphick.
James Chester is back in training but unlikely to feature while goalkeeper Orjan Nyland remains sidelined with a long-term Achilles injury.
The rest of the rearguard picks itself with Jed Steer between the posts, Ahmed Elmohamady and Neil Taylor in the full-back roles and Tyrone Mings in central defence.
Smith must choose between Conor Hourihane and Glenn Whelan in the holding role, with the former most likely to get the nod after his impressive goalscoring form in recent weeks.
Jack Grealish and John McGinn are almost certain to start in central midfield while Anwar El Ghazi should line up on the left.
However, there is another key selection decision to make on the opposite flank with Albert Adomah and Andre Green both flattering to deceive against the Baggies.
Adomah is expected to start due to his extra experience, although Jonathan Kodjia offers another alternative for Smith, while loanee Tammy Abraham will lead the line in what could be his final game for Villa