MX23RW : Thursday, August 16 12:12:20
May 26, 2018 at 5pm UK at ​Wembley
Attendance: 85,243
Aston Villa
0-1
Fulham

Chester (8'), Grealish (63'), Jedinak (76'), Hutton (86')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Cairney (23')
Odoi (38'), Kamara (77')
Odoi (70')

Steve Bruce thankful for 'ideal preparation' ahead of playoff final

Bruce thankful for 'ideal preparation'
© Offside
Steve Bruce hopes that his decision to give his Aston Villa players some time off pays off when they take on Fulham in the playoff final next weekend.

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has insisted that his side are in perfect shape after being given an extended rest ahead of their playoff final showdown against Fulham.

The Villans saw off Middlesbrough 1-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals on May 25 to remain on course for a Premier League return, two years after dropping out of the division.

With 11 days between matches, Bruce was happy to give his players some time off so that they could refresh on the back of a gruelling campaign, and the promotion expert hopes that his decision pays off.

"The one Achilles heel for us all season, if we had one, was 'can we recover fast enough?' because of the relentlessness of the Championship," he is quoted as saying by Sky Sports News.

"Obviously the age of my squad is not the youngest. To play on Saturdays and Tuesdays each week was always the big call. To have 10-11 days to prepare has been absolutely ideal for us. We had last weekend off and we have prepared all week.

"There is a certain freshness about us and hopefully we can go about the final the way we have trained all week. If we can do that then we give ourselves a chance."

Egypt international Ahmed Elmohamady is Villa's only fitness doubt ahead of Saturday's clash at Wembley Stadium.

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Sam Johnstone in action for Aston Villa in April 2017
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