Aston Villa news: Steve Bruce urges side to embrace Wolves derby
Villa have put a disappointing start to the season behind them by marching up the table on the back of five wins and three draws in their last eight league matches.
Their resurgence will be tested at Molineux against high-flying Wolves, who have helped set the early pace this season after heavy summer spending.
“A big game, a big derby – bring it on,” said Bruce. “It’s a sell-out and it’s live on the television too.
“It’s what we’re all in the game for – these types of matches. Let’s go in and enjoy it and embrace the challenge.”
Bruce celebrated a year in charge at Villa Park this week and his slow starters appear on course for a tilt at promotion.
Wolves vs Aston Villa LIVE stream: How to watch online and on TV, betting odds
Championship predicted table 2017/18 according to the BBC
Fri, August 4, 2017
Which side is tipped to win the Championship this season? Table provided by the BBC
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24. Burton Albion – 22.88
“We had an awful August but September was terrific,” said Bruce, who has been promoted from the Championship on four occasions as manager, twice each with former clubs Hull and Birmingham.
“It’s important over the next five games until the next international break now that we keep ourselves where we are – at the top end of the league.
“That’s where we all have aspirations to be. We’re approaching the winter months and we’ve got to have the same desire to take it on.”
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo said: “We have analysed Aston Villa carefully and passed that information on to the players, so from minute one we are ready to play.
“They are a good team and an experienced squad but at this stage of the competition there are a lot of teams not there in the table who will come up.
“So it’s about us. I don’t look at the table, it doesn’t mean anything to me.”
As Middlesbrough travel to Barnsley, Adama Traore is a footballing riddle manager Garry Monk has still to solve.
The lightning fast Spaniard excites and exasperates in equal measures and has yet to convince his new manager that he is worth a regular place in the Boro side.
But Monk knows the 21-year-old winger – who has been on the radar of Chelsea and Arsenal – is a talent worth persisting with.
“He’s a great kid, a well-liked member of the squad and we all know the ability he has and his potential,” said Monk.
“You forget his age. He’s been around a lot but is still very young so there’s a lot to learn and understand.
“We’re constantly working with him, trying to get him to that level of consistency and show him what we need in his position and from his performances.”