Aston Villa are the next team to face Paul Warne’s Rotherham United at the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Wednesday night. Here, we take a look at who the Millers will be facing in this Sky Bet Championship fixture, in our opposition analysis…
In the Dugout
Dean Smith will be the man in the dugout for Aston Villa for this fixture. The 48-year old was a centre-half in his playing career, making over 670 appearances. As a player, Smith represented Walsall, Hereford United, Leyton Orient, Sheffield Wednesday and Port Vale in his 16-year career.
As a manager, he started as assistant manager at Leyton Orient until January 2009 where he was appointed Head of Youth at Walsall. He became the manager of Walsall in January 2011 and took them to the final of the EFL League Trophy in 2015. He managed Brentford from 2015 till 2018, before moving to Aston Villa in October 2018.
Aston Villa come into the game as the in-form team in the league, winning their last six games on the bounce to put them fifth in the table. In that six game winning run, they have scored 16 goals and conceded just three, keeping three clean sheets in the process. The last time they played was last Saturday away at Sheffield Wednesday, where they won the fixture 3-1. After Gary Hooper opened the scoring for Sheffield Wednesday, John McGinn scored the equaliser for the visitors. With full-time approaching and it looking to ending in a draw, two stoppage-time goals from Albert Adomah and Tammy Abraham secured all three points for Villa.
This is the 18th time these teams have met with Aston Villa winning 12 of those fixtures. The Millers have won four of the encounters and there has only has been one draw between the sides, dating back to January 1971. The first time these teams met was in February 1953 in the FA Cup, with Aston Villa winning 3-1 away at Rotherham. In the last seven meetings, Rotherham have only won once, winning away at Villa Park 3-1 in October 1971 and losing the other six. In the last meeting, Aston Villa won 2-0 at Villa Park in September 2018, courtesy of goals in each half from Tammy Abraham and Yannick Bolasie.
Ones to Watch
Our Ones to Watch start with goalkeeper Jed Steer. The 26-year old started his career at Norwich City and had two loan spells while contracted with the Canaries; Yeovil Town and Cambridge United. He moved to Villa in 2013 on a free transfer and had six more loan spells, with stints at Doncaster Rovers and Yeovil Town, before spending three separate loan spells at Huddersfield Town. At the start of this season, Steer had a spell at Charlton Athletic before returning and the former England Under-19 international is looking to maintain his number one jersey.
In defence, on-loan Bournemouth man Tyrone Mings is making an impression with the Villa faithful. The defender joined on loan in January 2019 and has impressed in recent weeks. The defender had youth spells at Southampton and Bristol Rovers before moving to Yate Town. He then represented Chippenham Town before Ipswich Town paid £10,000 for his services. He made over 50 appearances for the Tractor Boys before moving to Bournemouth for an undisclosed fee, rumoured to be £8million.
In midfield, John McGinn looks to be the signing of the summer for Villa. The 24-year old Scottish international has represented his country at under-19, under-21 and senior level. He started his career at St Mirren and won the Scottish League Cup in 2013 before moving to Hibernian in 2015. At Hibernian, he won the Scottish Cup in 2016 and the Scottish Championship in 2017 before moving to Villa in August 2018 on a four-year deal.
Upfront, Tammy Abraham has been the talisman for Villa this season. He has scored 23 goals in the Championship and is joint second with Billy Sharp in the top scorers list, with Norwich Teemu Pukki top. Abraham is currently on-loan from Chelsea and won the Toulon tournament with England Under-21s in 2018. He has also had spells at Bristol City and Swansea City as well as representing the England senior side.