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Steve Bruce will have had high hopes of leading Aston Villa back into the Premier League following his appointment as manager in October. In his second game in charge, Villa ended their eleven-game winless run by defeating Reading and embarking on a fine six-match winning run. It couldn't last. Things soon settled down again and the Villans settled back into their comfortable mid-table position.
Things have recently taken a turn for the worse however. Villa have yet to win this year and with just two points collected from their last six Championship outings, the omens aren't looking too good. Back-to-back defeats to Brentford and Nottingham Forest have effectively ended any slender hopes that the Villa fans had of seeing their side make a concerted effort to reach the play-offs. Indeed the West Midlands side sit considerably closer to the relegation zone and it wouldn't be a massive shock should they creep ever closer to the bottom three given their recent form.
Saturday's visitors Ipswich Town are in a very similar situation. The Tractorboys have managed just a single win since the turn of the year and sit level on points with the Villans, therefore they too will be conscious of the fact that only eight points separate them from the bottom three. Whilst neither side are in any immediate danger, the threat is ever present and we should see a somewhat cagey affair at Villa Park as both sides look to avoid defeat at all costs.
Indeed both Aston Villa and Ipswich Town have had few problems finding the back of the net but wins have been pretty thin on the gourd of late and perhaps a point apiece wouldn't be too bad a result for either manager. That's what we'll be backing anyway.