Aston Villa v Sheffield United preview: Championship clash live on Sky Sports Football
Last Updated: 22/12/17 4:49pm
Gabby Agbonlahor is hoping to make his first start since September in the home game against Sheffield United.
Agbonlahor had been sidelined for three months due to a calf injury before stepping off the bench in last week's defeat at Derby. On-loan Tottenham midfielder Josh Onomah is nursing a cut foot, but returned to full training on Friday and could feature.
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Skipper John Terry is working his way back from a broken metatarsal sustained last month, but hopes to rejoin the first team for training next week and teenage winger Andre Green is closing in on his return after hamstring surgery.
Sheffield United midfielder John Fleck serves the second game of a three-match suspension. However, Mark Duffy should be fit to return after missing last weekend's defeat at Preston through illness.
Defender Kieron Freeman (knee) and striker Ched Evans (ankle) both remain sidelined, along with midfielder Paul Coutts who has broken his leg. Goalkeeper Jake Eastwood has joined Chesterfield on an emergency seven-day loan deal, subject to final approval.
This is the first league meeting between the sides since May 2007, which Villa won 3-0 in the Premier League via goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor, Ashley Young and Patrik Berger.
The Blades are winless in 10 league visits to Villa Park (D3 L7) since a 2-0 victory there in January 1966 courtesy of a Gil Reece brace.
Steve Bruce has a 100% win record in managerial clashes with former club Sheffield United, winning all six matches, most recently a 5-3 win in the FA Cup semi-final in April 2014 as Hull manager.
Sheffield United haven't kept a clean sheet in the Championship since October 14th and their 10-game run without one is currently the longest in the division.
Aston Villa have won 12 home league matches in 2017, their best calendar year total since 1996 (also 12) - they last won more often in a calendar year at Villa Park in 1983 (18).
Sheffield United, meanwhile, have won 27 league matches in 2017 - their most in a calendar year since they joined the Football League in 1892.
Of the 18 players with 7+ goals in the Championship this season, Villa's Albert Adomah has the best shot conversion rate (31.3%).
It had been a while Villa lost a game so that defeat at Derby last week, especially considering they're another promotion rival, was a bit of a setback for Steve Bruce's side.
Sheffield United, meanwhile, are now on an absolutely dreadful run of form and there's a decent chance they could slip out of the play-off places here. I think there will be goals here but I can't split the sides.
David Prutton predicts: 2-2 with Albert Adomah to score first (50/1 with Sky Bet)