Preston vs Aston Villa preview
Last Updated: 28/12/18 1:17pm
Preston's injury crisis has deepened after Ben Davies limped out of the 2-1 defeat to Hull with a hamstring issue.
Callum Robinson, Brandon Barker and Sean Maguire (all hamstring), Josh Harrop and Billy Bodin (both knee) are all out.
Louis Moult has a hamstring injury, Ben Pearson is suspended, Tom Clarke is nursing a broken nose and Josh Earl has a thigh problem.
Jack Grealish is likely to sit out for Aston Villa again as he battles a shin injury with no timescale for his return.
On-loan Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe is out for several weeks with a foot injury.
Neil Taylor (hamstring) is expected to sit out and Henri Lansbury remains a doubt but Birkir Bjarnason is available after a groin injury.
Preston have only emerged victorious once in their last 14 matches against Aston Villa in all competitions (D8 L5).
The previous seven second-tier meetings at Deepdale between Preston and Aston Villa has only seen 11 goals scored; six for Preston and just five for Villa.
Preston's 1-2 defeat against Hull City last time out ended a six-match unbeaten run on home soil (W4 D2).
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Aston Villa have lost just once in their last nine matches in league competition (W5 D3), losing against Leeds (2-3).
Since making his debut for the club in January 2017, Conor Hourihane has been directly involved in more league goals than any other Aston Villa player (27 - 16 goals, 11 assists).
Aston Villa Manager Dean Smith has alternated between victory and defeat in his last seven visits to Deepdale in all competitions (W4 D3), winning last time out 3-2 as Brentford boss in October 2017.
Preston's climb up the table has been halted by back-to-back defeats either side of Christmas, and they were both in games you felt were winnable for them, which will disappoint Alex Neil.
Aston Villa got back to winning ways at Swansea on Boxing Day but will need a few more of them if they want to get back up towards the play-offs. They have struggled at Preston in the past and I think they could be frustrated again. Score draw.
Prutton predicts: 1-1 (11/2 with Sky Bet)