It has to be surely, because while I know we’re not playing them at home, their record there is simply horrendous and they haven’t won at the Stadium of light in 20 games.
Quite simply, this means they’re a poor side, which even their own fans (un)happily admit.
Still, while on paper this ought to be one of the easiest games of the season, so I still have nagging doubts that it will be anything like easy.
Years of the Villa disappointing us are ingrained in me. Couple this with the fact that I am now never totally convinced that we’re going to win and it always leaves me concerned before a game.
And then there’s the new manager bounce thing, with Chris Coleman taking over (which I think will come back to haunt him as a terrible decision).
Talking of which, I saw the goals in the Millwall – Sunderland game today and the goalkeeping was absolutely shocking for all four goals.
Let’s hope Ruiter is equally as poor today, eh?
We have the same injuries with John Terry, Jonathan Kodjia, Scott Hogan,Jack Grealish and Henri Lansbury, Gabby Agbonlahor and Andre Green all out.
The good news is Ahmed Elmohamady, Jack Grealish, Henri Lansbury and Mile Jedinak are all available. So Bruce could change things up if he wants too.
Sunderland will be without Marc Wilson, Jonny Williams and Duncan Watmore after all three were forced off on Saturday.
Midfielder Lee Cattermole serves a one-match ban, for reaching five bookings, so you would think they’re even more weakened.
How will Steve Bruce approach this one then?
Well, for me, we have to go for it from the off.
We have enough quality to get the early goal and if we can, you have to think that the Sunderland’s players heads will drop. They’ve conceded the second highest amount of goals this season, after all.
I don’t see Bruce changing things up much, but it’s possible Jedinak might get a look in, possibly along with Grealish, to add some creativity.
I suspect it’ll be no change for the kick-off though.
It has to be a straightforward win tonight and I’m going 2-1, although we really shouldn’t concede at all, strictly speaking, in my opinion.
UTV and here’s hoping.