Premier League preview: Aston Villa v Fulham
By Football News
Relegation-threatened Aston Villa will hope to make it two vital wins in succession when they host Fulham in the English Premier League.
Villa defeated Stoke City 3-1 away from home on Saturday, dragging their beaten hosts into the scrap for survival at the wrong end of the table.
Three points gained at the Britannia Stadium lifted Villa up to 16th in the standings, two points clear of the drop zone.
And with little separating the teams in the bottom half of the Premier League, they are just six points away from 10th-placed Fulham.
Paul Lambert's Villa team are enjoying some of their best form this season, having won three of their past four leagues games.
Forwards Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor have proved crucial in earning those victories, with both men netting in wins over Reading, Queens Park Rangers and Stoke.
They will be confident of getting on the scoresheet again when Fulham arrive at Villa Park on Saturday, with Martin Jol's team having won just three times away from home this season.
One of those three victories came as recently as March 17, and in the form of an impressive 1-0 triumph at high-flying Tottenham Hotspur.
They followed that up with a 3-2 win at home to QPR, making it five matches unbeaten for the west London side.
But their away-day woes promptly returned last week, as Jol's men went down 1-0 at Newcastle United, Papiss Cisse claiming the winner for the hosts in injury time at St James' Park.
Although they remain outsiders to go down, Fulham must still pick up as many points as possible over their final seven games of the season to guarantee their survival and avoid an uncomfortable climax to the campaign.
In injury news, Agbonlahor should overcome a thigh problem to take his place in Villa's starting 11, while defender Ciaran Clark is a bigger doubt due to a shoulder issue.
For Fulham, midfielder Steve Sidwell is suspended, but forward Mladen Petric is nearing a return from the thigh injury which has kept him out since February.
The previous meeting between the teams saw Fulham run out 1-0 winners at Craven Cottage in October.