Date: 19th November 2018 at 7:00am
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With plenty of improvements in our general style of play under new head coach Dean Smith, a number of Aston Villa fans were relishing the opening 2018/19 derby clash with Birmingham City next weekend, especially in light of the fact they had eeked above us in recent weeks in the Championship and we are now tied on 24 points.

It’s not just bragging rights up for grabs next Sunday and the game, as ever, won’t be a walk in the park but hopes were probably higher than if you’d have asked the question two months ago.

Whether that is now still the case or not following another utterly pointless international break in November, well, it’s open to debate with three serious injury doubts going into the game.

John McGinn withdrew from the Scotland squad with a calf strain, as did Neil Taylor who picked up an issue and was substituted at the halftime break in our victory over Derby County.

On Friday evening we also saw James Chester forced off in the 50th minute of Wales’ defeat to Denmark and with his issue as yet unknown, the worry is obvious given the woeful and pathetic lack of balance and options we were left with in the heart of defence.

From what I’ve read, Chester is the main concern here really for a variety of reasons but it’s certainly not the build-up to the game we wanted.

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