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Aston Villa team news: Duo available to start vs Brighton, attacker sidelined

Aston Villa travel to Brighton on Saturday, desperate for a victory as they battle to keep their Premier League status.

Villa were embarrassed by City 6-1 last Sunday and manager Dean Smith will be hoping that his side can bounce back and respond positively to that result.

Smith welcomes back full back Matt Targett after a couple of weeks out due to a hamstring injury, the club confirmed.

Premier League great Pepe Reina signed for Villa this week in light of Tom Heaton’s injury and is expected to be the first choice for the rest of the season.

“Tom has been a big plus for us this season already, unfortunately he got injured. We then only had two recognised senior goalkeepers. It was important we moved quickly and we’re very fortunate to get someone so vastly experienced who has got leadership qualities within the dressing room as well. We’re really pleased to have Pepe in the building. He’s vastly experienced, a leader, he will be a voice in the dressing room that we need as well.”

Dean Smith on Pepe Reina’s arrival

In his pre-match press conference Smith confirmed that attacker Jonathan Kodjia did not train this week and will not be available for selection on Saturday.

Wesley, Tom Heaton, John McGinn and Jed Steer are long-term absentees who are ruled out as well for the trip to the Amex Stadium.

No club in the bottom half has scored more goals than Dean Smith’s side meaning Villa’s problems this season have mostly been defensive with only bottom club Norwich having conceded more goals.

Opponents Brighton have played good football under Graham Potter this season but have found results hard to come by having won just one of their last seven matches.

Villa enter the fixture in 18th place but a win here will take them level on points with their opponents who start the weekend in 14th place.

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