I’ve actually had a good few hours to think about this one, but I’m finding it difficult to make a call.
Team news first and we know Jedinak is unlikely to play after all the flying he’s done lately.
Or is he?
The player has apparently said he feels ok and Steve Bruce has intimated that he wants him to play and he’s been assessed today.
Kodjia should be ready and in further good news, Jordan Amavi should be ok too after suffering a cut on his foot.
Ayew is back from his suspension.
Bacuna has been passed fit, but Richards is still suffering a calf problem.
McCormack is suspended for picking up his fifth booking against Blackburn.
So all in all, we’re not in too bad shape.
Brighton have defender Liam Rosenior and midfielder Beram Kayal out, both with ankle injuries.
Villa and Brighton have quite a few links lately.
Steve Sidwell plays for them, Gary Gardner had a loan spell there and Tommy Elphick used to play for them.
And now it seems we’ve nicked their assistant manager, Colin Calderwood, who of course used to play for the Villa.
I wonder if that might fire up the Seagulls somewhat?
The team will be supported by another sell-out allocation of 2700 of our away support.
This seems a real tough test, as Brighton are a very decent side who were up there in the promotion betting from the off and are in good form (second over the last five games) having only lost two games up to now.
But then we’ve only lost three games, which means we’re tough to beat too. Couple that with the fact that we’ve seemed more resilient since Bruce came in and things look quite rosy really.
We’ve got to beat or at least get something from the teams above us and up to now we haven’t done too badly, so it would be nice to see that continue if we want to demonstrate our credentials for promotion.
And part of me thinks we can.
I think a lot will revolve around how our midfield looks. Jedinak is beginning to look very important in the middle and if he doesn’t start, or suffers after his international efforts, I’d be a bit concerned.
But if he plays well, he could make all the difference.
Will Ayew come straight back in place of McCormack? I’d like to think so as he does provide something, as much as I appreciate many think he’s too greedy. Surely Bruce will be drumming it into him to look to his team-mates?
It’s not a bad position to be in for Bruce, as he could go for Gestede or even Gabby, but I doubt it myself.
I’d venture Bacuna is decent backup for the midfield or of course right back.
Otherwise it’s a case of don’t change a winning side really and I don’t think Bruce will, McCormack apart. And he hasn’t really shown yet, so that’s no major loss in my opinion.
After still thinking about the outcome as I type, I still don’t know what to say.
I’m somewhat optimistic, but I see this as as tough a test we’ll face all season.
I see goals, but not too many and my heart says we can win this 2-1.
But we have to play well for the whole game, which is where I have my doubts.
Hence my head says a 1-1 draw might be more realistic.
And I’d be pretty happy with that.