Apr 5, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​Villa Park
Aston Villa
Holt (70')
Bennett (59'), Westwood (67'), Holtby (87')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Richardson (62'), Rodallega (86')
Sidwell (84'), Albrighton (90')

Preview: Aston Villa vs. Fulham

Felix Magath, Manager of Fulham looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Newcastle United at Craven Cottage on March 15, 2014
© Getty Images
Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash between hosting Aston Villa and Fulham as the rock-bottom Cottagers reach the now-or-never stage in their bid for survival.

Fulham manager Felix Magath has insisted that his team can still produce an unlikely escape from relegation if they win four of their remaining six matches.

The Premier League's bottom club travel to Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon five points adrift of safety and with by far the worst goal difference in the division.

Leading bookmaker SkyBet has them 1/8 favourites to go down, but Magath has not, at least publicly, given up hope of prolonging Fulham's 13-year stay in the top flight.

Time is running out for the Cottagers, though, and you would think that they need to pick up a positive result this weekend against a Villa side who have suffered consecutive 4-1 defeats to retain hope of survival.

Paul Lambert will be relieved to be watching the fight to avoid the drop from a relatively safe distance this season, although 12th-placed Villa probably need another win to guarantee that they stay up.

At this stage last term, the Midlands club, who are eight points clear of the bottom three, were only two points above water, but the goals of Christian Benteke soon fired them up the table.

However, the Belgian has been ruled out for six months with an Achilles injury, and will miss the World Cup. Gabriel Agbonlahor could play though the middle, with Andreas Weimann and Mark Albrighton in behind him.

At the other end of the pitch, Lambert may consider changes to his leaky defence. With Villa having conceded eight goals in their last two games, Matt Lowton may be restored at right-back to allow Leandro Bacuna to play in midfield, while Nathan Baker should return after recovering from a knock.

Karim El Ahmadi, Libor Kozak, Jores Okore and Charles N'Zogbia all remain in the treatment room.

Magath must decide whether to put his faith in Fulham's young stars, as he has done in recent weeks, or recall experienced names such as Scott Parker, who is available again following a knee injury.

With £12m club-record signing Kostas Mitroglou still suffering from fitness problems, either Cauley Woodrow or 17-year-old Moussa Dembele will start as the Whites' lone striker.

One of the teenagers will be supported by Ashkan Dejagah, who has three goals in his last five games, while former Villa striker Darren Bent is poised to be named on the bench after overcoming an illness.

Fernando Amorebieta has completed his suspension, but may be kept out the back four by Johnny Heitinga.

Recent form


Fulham: LLWLLD

Possible starting lineups

Villa: Guzan; Lowton, Baker, Vlaar, Bertrand; Bacuna, Westwood, Delph, Albrighton; Weimann; Agbonlahor

Fulham: Stockdale; Riether, Hangeland, Heitinga, Riise; Parker, Sidwell, Holtby; Kasami, Dejagah; Dembele

Sports Mole says: 2-0

Manchester United Manager David Moyes heads for the dressing room at half-time during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 16, 2014
Read Next:
Preview: Man United vs. Villa
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole