Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Aston Villa preview: Wolves hoping to be back on top after Midlands derby

Wolverhampton Wanderers take on Aston Villa at Molineux on Saturday for match-day 12 of the 2017-18 SkyBet Championship season.

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Aston Villa preview: Wolves hoping to be back on top after Midlands derby
(Picture: Getty Images)

Wolverhampton Wanderers host Aston Villa in a West Midlands derby on Saturday, hoping to once again reach the summit of the Sky Bet Championship table.

Still a healthy rivlary

Wolves and Villa may not regard themselves as each other's closest rivals within the huge football bubble of the West Midlands, but there's still a fair bit of animosity between the club's fans and each set of supporters would love to win this particular game. 

For the first time in a while going into this fixture, Wolves will be seen as favourites both from a neutral perspective and of course within the city of Wolverhampton. Nuno Espirito Santo's team sit 2nd in the Championship table coming out of the October international break with 23 points to their name after 11 games. 

With the big Chinese financial backing behind them, everyone in and around the Championship game is expecting Wolves to be right at the top come the end of the campaign.

Through 11 games they've just about met these expectations, but it's where they'll be at the end of 46 matches which matters most and the visit of Villa will be a great test of their title credentials.

As for Villa, they come into this match as one of the form teams in the league on the back of four straight Championship wins, which has seen them rise to 7th in the league table with a tally of 19 points.

Steve Bruce has to be looking for his side to be challenging for automatic promotion with the likes of Wolves after the money he has spent himself over the last two transfer windows.

After a lot work on the squad it now appears Bruce has the players he wants and can now expect more consistent performances from a group of players who now know each other's games, which has been evident in the last four outings.

Any promotion hopes for the Villains would be taken more seriously if they pull out a positive result at a place like Molineux

Team news

Wolves midfielder Conor Coady is set to return from suspension after he saw red two games ago against former team Sheffield United.

Defenders Willy Boly and Ryan Bennett are unlikely to return for the home side though after long-term injury layoffs.

Full back Neil Taylor is suspended for Villa after his appeal against the red card he was issued in the 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers was rejected.

Midfielder Jack Grealish is close to making his first appearance of the season after he suffered a freak injury in pre-season regarding his kidney. 

Stats

Last season Wolves beat Villa at home in the league for the first time since 1978. They haven't won back-to-back home games against them since 1960.

Wolves Leo Bonatini is the only player in the Championship to have scored and assisted at least four goals this season. He has four of each.

Steve Bruce has only taken one point from his last five league visits to Molineux, the last time he won there was with Birmingham City in April 2007. 

Championship