By Josh Dodd
Wolverhampton Wanderers host Aston Villa this Saturday in what is expected to be a feisty West Midlands derby.
This is the second meeting between the two sides this season with the reverse fixture ending in a 1-1 draw after Danny Ings cancelled out Daniel Podence’s opener at Villa Park to rescue a point foe the hosts.
Both teams have something to play for as the season comes to an end, with Wolves looking to stay in the Premier League after an underwhelming season and Villa are looking to qualify for European football with a top seven finish.
Wolves looking to end season on a high.
The hosts are aiming to finish the season on a more positive turn after an overall poor season, which led to the sacking of Bruno Lage and the appointment of Julien Lopetegui.
Before their last game, Wolves had been on a good run, collecting points to steer them away from the drop zone with the most notable being a 1-0 win over struggling Chelsea.
After a humiliating 6-0 defeat away to Brighton last time out, Wolves will be looking to correct things and to regain some pride this season with a win and bragging rights over their local rivals.
A key player for Wolves will be their captain, Ruben Neves.
The Portuguese international has been among the goals this season for Wolves, scoring six in 31 games with them being vital for the ‘Wanderers.’
His best performance this season was in the clubs 3-0 win over Liverpool, a result which shocked the league and boosted Wolves survival hopes.
Europe is still on for Villa.
Aston Villa are still on the hunt for European football.
Despite suffering a 1-0 away defeat to Manchester United, Unai Emery’s men have been on a stellar run being undefeated in their last 10 before their last game, with notable wins over Chelsea, Newcastle, and Bournemouth.
There is a positive atmosphere around Villa Park with the fans believing that something special is happening this season and the future looks bright in the claret and blue side of Birmingham.
Villa captain John McGinn is a player to watch this weekend.
The Scotland international has enjoyed a turnaround in form since the arrival of Unai Emery, being utilised in many areas across the midfield including a more advanced role when Boubacar Kamara starts.
McGinn could be vital for Villa in winning the three points as his high stamina and endurance could be key to being successful in that midfield duel.
Aston Villa look to welcome back Poland full-back Matty Cash into the matchday squad after a long-term Injury.
Cash last featured in Villas 3-0 win over Bournemouth in March and suffered a hamstring injury after featuring for Poland.
It is unclear whether Leon Bailey, Phillipe Coutinho and Boubacar Kamara will return this season.
Wolves are set to have a clean bill of health, excluding their summer signing Sasa Kalajdzic, who suffered an ACL injury on his debut.