Express & Star

Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest: John McGinn eyes home run in Champions League race

Skipper John McGinn has called on Villa to make their home a fortress again as they continue their Champions League push.


Unai Emery’s team host Nottingham Forest tomorrow aiming to record back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since December and end a run of three straight defeats in all competitions at Villa Park.

Villa had been unbeaten in 17 home league matches, a run which included a club record sequence of 15 straight wins, prior to last month’s 3-1 reverse against Newcastle.

They have since lost to Chelsea and Manchester United but having bounced back from the latter defeat in impressive fashion beating Fulham last weekend, McGinn is eager to build more positive momentum.

Villa face trips to Luton and West Ham either side of what appears a critical home match with Tottenham prior to next month’s international break. McGinn said: “We need to get back on the horse at home and get that run going again. We need to make Villa Park a fortress again.

“Consecutive defeats at home is strange for us and something we need to eradicate quickly.

“There’s been a lot of questions about our away form this season and we’ve now managed to find a solution to that.

“The run we went on at Villa Park was tremendous and it was a great place to be for everyone.

“If we can perform on the pitch, there’s no reason we can’t go on a run like before and win 15 or 16 in a row.”

Forest are one of just four teams to have beaten Villa in the league this season with their 2-0 win at the City Ground in November one of just three top-flight matches in which Emery’s men have failed to score.

That victory was one of only three gained by Steve Cooper before he was sacked and replaced by Nuno Espirito Santo, who has guided the team four points clear of the relegation zone, albeit with the threat of a points deduction due to the club’s alleged breach of profit and sustainability rules looming large.

“They’re a very good team full of talented players, with a coach who’s well-respected in the league,” said McGinn. “They’ve got a battle of their own going on. They’ll be coming to make it difficult for us to get the three points, which they badly need too.”

McGinn will again be tasked with filling the gap left by Boubacar Kamara in midfield, a task he carried out impressively in the win at Craven Cottage.

With Diego Carlos and Ezri Konsa still several weeks away from fitness, Emery will again go with the partnership of Clement Lenglet and Pau Torres in central defence.

Tottenham do not play this weekend, so the opportunity exists for Villa, two points clear of the London club, to build some scoreboard pressure.

They are unbeaten in seven home matches against Forest, a run which stretches back to 1994.