Aston Villa v Ipswich Town


Paul Lambert was successful the last time he came up against Dean Smith in a 2-1 win for Wolves at Brentford in March 2017
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Aston Villa are without playmaker Jack Grealish for a 10th successive game as they welcome back former boss Paul Lambert, now in charge of bottom club Ipswich Town.

Mile Jedinak (calf) and Glenn Whelan (shoulder) have trained, but Grealish is only due to begin light training after his shin injury next week.

Ipswich forward Jack Lankester (back) has been ruled out for several weeks.

Midfielder Emyr Huws remains sidelined following his serious knee injury.

Huws scored the winner when Ipswich were victorious at Villa Park in February 2017, but two goals from Albert Adomah were enough to settle last season’s fixture.

Villa, who have won just once in eight league games, start the day 13th, a place lower in the Championship table than they were when Steve Bruce was sacked in October.

Ipswich, who have won just three times all season – but twice in 14 games since Lambert took charge on 28 October – are seven points adrift of safety.

Centre-half James Collins looks set to start barely a month after being on the brink of a return to Villa, only to cancel his offer of a short-term contract when he suffered an injury in training.

Villa boss Dean Smith told BBC WM 95.6:

“I spoke with Yannick Bolasie. He didn’t feel like he was contributing and his performances haven’t been as good as he or we all wanted and he felt his best option was to go back to Everton and try to get into their Premier League team.

“We’ve only lost twice in 13 league games. One was an anomaly at Wigan. The other was in the last minute at home to Leeds. We have to start turning these draws into wins to reignite the flame of promotion.

“To have conceded as many as we have this season is something we have to put a stop to. We need to carry on producing the sort of performance we did last week in the second half against Hull City.”

Ipswich manager Paul Lambert told BBC Suffolk:

“I saw what was missing from our game was the finishing touches. We’re a lot stronger in that area of the pitch now.

“Villa are a really big club and I had some really good moments there. I probably went in it a difficult time when the owner was trying to sell.

“They’ve obviously spent a lot of money over the last couple of years but there’s nothing guaranteed in football. You can’t guarantee success.”

Match facts

  • Ipswich boss Paul Lambert will be making his first return to Villa Park since being sacked as Aston Villa boss in February 2015.
  • Lambert has recorded one win against Villa in his only meeting since he left, a 1-0 win with Wolves at Molineux in January 2017.
  • Ipswich have picked up just one away point out of a possible 18 since Lambert took charge on 28 October.
  • Tammy Abraham has scored nine goals in his last five home games – and not figured on the winning side in any of them.
  • After 28 games of the season, only two other Championship sides, Ipswich (48) and Rotherham United (46), have conceded more league goals this season than Villa (45).
  • Villa have shipped more goals at home (26 in 14 games) than any other side in the Championship.

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