Will Axel rise to the occasion?

By Graham Hill

AXEL Tuanzebe makes his first start for Villa since returning from a three-month injury lay-off when he lines up at Rotherham United tonight.

The on loan Manchester United defender takes the place of Kortney Hause who came off injured in the win at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

And Albert Adomah – who scored the third goal for Villa at Hillsborough is also recalled to the squad.

But with three big games coming in quick succession this week, age may not be on midfielder Glenn Whelan’s side.

Boss Dean Smith has left Whelan on the subs’ bench which means he makes way for his Republic of Ireland team-mate Conor Hourihane at the New York Stadium.

The changes show Villa’s strength at the moment despite being short on numbers at certain points this season.

But Smith will want a seventh successive win against a team struggling at the wrong end of the Championship.

And with in-form Bristol City coming to Villa Park on Saturday, three points are a must to put some breathing space between them and the chasing pack.


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