Aston Villa face the biggest night of their season on Tuesday, as they look to preserve a 2-1 first leg lead over West Bromwich Albion, when the two sides settle their Championship play-off semi-final at The Hawthorns.

A late rally from the Villans at Villa Park on Saturday ensured that Dean Smith’s men will make the short foray up the M6 with the advantage in the tie, one which if they can maintain for another 90 minutes will see them heading to Wembley for the final later in the month.

That means a return to the Premier League could be just 180 minutes away from Villa, but after suffering heartache at the last hurdle 12 months ago, they will be only too aware that there is no room for complacency or taking their foot off the gas from here on in.

The Villans had a couple of doubts ahead of the second leg, with Anwar El Ghazi and Tyrone Mings appearing to pick up injuries late on in the pulsating Villa Park showdown.

Smith has played down that issue though, suggesting that both Villa stars will be fine to go again when they make the trip to The Hawthorns.

“Anwar was tired.” The Villans’ official website quote him as saying.

“It’s Ramadan at the moment, so we’re managing his diet and his sleep. So he was just tired.

“Tyrone Mings also pulled up with a bit of a tight hamstring. But we’ve got really good performance staff here who manage the players really well. They’ll be ready.”

History is very much in the favour of Villa heading into the second leg. 16 of the last 18 teams to take a lead away from the first leg have progressed to the final, a record Smith’s men will be looking to increase on a potentially nervy night of football.


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