Express & Star

Boss Steve Bruce tells promotion-chasing Aston Villa to be wary of struggling Sunderland

Steve Bruce has warned Villa they can afford to take nothing for granted against Championship strugglers Sunderland on Tuesday night.

Last updated

Villa head north to the Stadium of Light aiming for a win which will keep their automatic promotion push on track.

The hosts sit bottom of the table having won only five league games all season – and just two on their own turf.

But Bruce has pointed to recent draws with Bristol City, Middlesbrough and Millwall as proof the club he managed between 2009 and 2011 will be no pushovers.

“Sunderland have scored three against Middlesbrough, they’ve scored three against Bristol City and they’ve gone to Millwall and got a result at the weekend,” said the boss.

“So, all of a sudden, they’re finding something. They have gone through a tough time but Sunderland away is never going to be easy.

“Just like every other game in this division we’ll approach it in the right way and see if we can come out on top.

“It’s going to be a big test. Slowly but surely, they might be turning it around.”

Alan Hutton remains a major doubt with a hamstring injury, while Villa are continuing to assess the fitness of playmaker Jack Grealish as he nears recovery from a calf problem.

With Saturday’s postponed fixture with QPR rescheduled for next Tuesday, Villa now face a hectic period.

Bruce added: “Now we have to play four games in 12 days which is a big ask.

“It is what it is. We had an enjoyable Saturday like everyone else which was quite nice.

“We trained on Sunday - we couldn’t train on Saturday because of the problems everyone had. We also had to be careful of people travelling so in that respect it was difficult.”