West Brom's Chris Brunt says onus on Aston Villa in Championship play-off semi-final
Brunt pinpoints Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham as main threats for Villa
Last Updated: 07/05/19 4:10pm
West Brom midfielder Chris Brunt believes the onus will be on Aston Villa to attack when the sides meet in their Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final first leg on Saturday.
The West Midlands rivals are set to kick off a dramatic semi-final line-up at Villa Park after West Brom earned home advantage for the second leg by finishing fourth, a place above Villa.
The Baggies won 2-0 at Villa Park in February, but that result spurred Villa to go on a 12-match unbeaten run, which only came to an end when they lost to champions Norwich on Sunday.
"Being away from home, obviously you have to be a little bit more cautious. I think football generally dictates that," Brunt told Sky Sports News on Tuesday.
"The onus will be on them to take the game to us because they'll have 40,000 screaming fans behind them expecting them to do that. So it's how we deal with that.
"I know it's an old cliche - you play the game not the occasion - but it will be very much that scenario for us on Saturday.
"It's one we're all looking forward to. I think this week you can feel the excitement building up around the place."
The return leg will take place at The Hawthorns on Tuesday night, with the winners going on to face Leeds or Derby at Wembley for a spot in the Premier League next season.
Jack Grealish's return from a shin injury was crucial in Villa's late-season surge, and Brunt is wary of the impact the 23-year-old midfielder could have on the tie, along with on-loan Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham.
"They've been on a great run since we beat them at Villa Park and obviously Jack Grealish is a big part of that," Brunt said. "So we're going to have to prepare to deal with him. He's a top player.
"But it's not just about Jack Grealish, they've got other good players in there as well.
"Tammy Abraham has scored a lot of goals this season as well, so they've got plenty of threats, but it's up to us to deal with that and try and impose ourselves on the game as well."