West Brom vs Aston Villa preview - Brunt doubtful for Villa game

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Posted Saturday, April 30, 2011 by PA

West Brom vs Aston Villa preview - Brunt doubtful for Villa game

Captain Chris Brunt is set to miss West Brom's midlands derby with Aston Villa at The Hawthorns after suffering a slight hamstring strain in training.

Winger Jerome Thomas (hamstring/groin) and defender Steven Reid (calf) are definitely out of the Barclays Premier League clash after picking up injuries in the 2-2 draw at Tottenham.

Brunt will be assessed again, with boss Roy Hodgson admitting he was unlikely to be fit but insisting none of the three were long-term concerns.

West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie is relishing a "special day" and hopes to fire his side to three points.

Odemwingie has bagged 13 goals this season, more than any other Baggies player in a Premier League campaign, and has targeted more as his side pursue a long-awaited win over Villa.

"All the clubs look forward to these games, they are special," he told the club`s official website. "It is a derby and we haven`t beat them for quite a long time.

"I`m sure we all want to end that and it`s a good opportunity.

"Albion versus Villa is going to be a great atmosphere in the stadium, very intense and it will be a special game."

Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan has been added to the squad.

The Scottish international has been recalled from a loan spell with Leeds United after having only restricted opportunities with the Championship club.

Bannan, 21, forced his way into the Villa side earlier in the campaign when they suffered a series of midfield injury setbacks.

Caretaker boss Gary McAllister - still deputising while manager Gerard Houllier recovers from a heart problem - has a full strength squad available.

Villa could again be unchanged after collecting eight points from their previous four games to climb into the top half of the table.

McAllister is full of praise for the way the Villa squad have put an end to any fears of going down via wins over West Ham and Newcastle and draws with Everton and Stoke.

He said: "Three or four games ago there was real pressure and we had to be realistic.

"We were talking about surviving in this league.

"But the feeling now, and the confidence and the mood, means we are tending to look the other way.

"We are intending to catch the teams above us and finish as high as we can.

"When you can get back to back wins, you can make significant moves up the table.

"We've got West Brom who are looking to finish as high as they can and then Wigan who are looking to get themselves away from the bottom.

"They've got plenty to play for but we have as well. There are games we can win and we can move up the table."

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