The hosts will leapfrog Stoke and climb out of the bottom three with a victory in this clash between two early-season strugglers at Villa Park.
Tim Sherwood’s side are searching for just their second win of the season but will have to earn it without injured winger Adama Traore, who is still struggling with an ankle knock. Gabby Agbonlahor sat out last weekend’s defeat at Anfield and is doubtful for Saturday’s match.
A loss this weekend would represent Villa’s joint-worst start after eight matches of a top-flight campaign. Not since 1986/87 have the Midlands side had just four points at that stage, and Sherwood’s young team look set for another season scrapping for points at the wrong end of the table.
Stoke earned an overdue first win of the season at home to Bournemouth last weekend, and will be confident of adding another three points to their tally at a venue that has been kind to them across their time in the Premier League.
The Potters have lost just once in their last seven visits to Villa Park, and have tasted success in the last two meetings after coming from behind; a 90th-minute penalty from Victor Moses sealed their 2-1 victory therein February.
Xherdan Shaqiri is a doubt for the visitors with a thigh injury, but the loss of the Swiss winger may be less keenly felt if Ibrahim Afellay returns to the side as expected. Mame Biram Diouf is also back in contention for Mark Hughes’ men.
League Position: Aston Villa – 18th, 4pts; Stoke – 17th, 6pts
Last Meeting: Aston Villa 1-2 Stoke (February 21, 2015)
Form: Aston Villa – LLDLLL; Stoke – DDLLDW
Key Men: Aston Villa – Rudy Gestede; Stoke – Bojan Krkic
Shoot Says: Aston Villa 1-1 Stoke