Bristol City v Aston Villa preview: Championship clash live on Sky Sports red button
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Last Updated: 28/09/18 8:29am
Bristol City will be without defender Tomas Kalas for their Sky Bet Championship clash against Aston Villa at Ashton Gate on Friday, live on Sky Sports Football via the red button (kick-off 8pm).
Kalas has undergone surgery and faces six weeks on the sidelines after fracturing his jaw in two places during last week's game against Wigan. On the plus side for City boss Lee Johnson, club captain Bailey Wright is back in training and nearing a return, while Nathan Baker and Lloyd Kelly are also defensive options.
Midfielder Jens Hegeler, meanwhile, is fully fit and available as City look to heap further misery on a Villa side that has claimed just one league win since mid-August.
Loan signing Yannick Bolasie could be in the selection mix to start for Villa against the Robins. Former Bristol City player Bolasie, who is on a season-long deal from Everton, has so far been restricted to substitute roles, but Villa boss Steve Bruce is thought to be considering a starting role for him either against City or next Tuesday's opponents Preston.
Strikers Scott Hogan and Keinan Davis, meanwhile, are continuing to make progress from long-term injuries. Neither player has featured this season, but Hogan could return in the next fortnight while Davis is also on the comeback trail, although he is understood to be slightly behind the Republic of Ireland international in terms of recovery pace.
Bristol City's 5-0 defeat to Aston Villa in their most recent league meeting in January was their heaviest against them since November 1959 (also a 5-0 defeat).
Aston Villa's last away league win at Ashton Gate against Bristol City was back in December 1979 in the top-flight, with Gary Shaw scoring a hat-trick in a 3-1 win.
Aston Villa have won just one of their last seven Championship games (D4 L2) despite scoring in each of those matches (nine goals in total).
Bristol City have won 14 points from their opening nine Championship games for the third consecutive season.
Aston Villa have had more different goalscorers than any other team in the Championship this season (11 players).
Bristol City's Andreas Weimann has scored five goals in nine Championship appearances this season, as many as he did in 42 outings for Derby in the competition in 2017-18.
Who needs the win more on Friday night? Things were looking good for Bristol City until they lost two on the spin last week to drop out of the top six altogether, while Steve Bruce is never too far away from a crisis at Aston Villa.
Villa looked to be on the right track after beating Rotherham but the defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday was a massive setback. I think this one will be close but I'm going to back a home win.
David Prutton predicts: 2-1 with Famara Diedhiou to score first (35/1 with Sky Bet)