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For all of the talent at his disposal in the West Midlands, Gerrard’s Aston Villa are still struggling to go toe-to-toe with the big boys, but the Lions at least managed to end their losing run at the home of Europa Conference League semi-finalists Leicester last time out.

A goalless stalemate saw Gerrard’s side finally post another point on the board after a run of four consecutive defeats in the top flight, and with just six games left to play this season, Villa’s side are not quite safe from the threat of demotion just yet.

Indeed, taking one point from the last 15 on offer in the Premier League sees Villa languishing in 15th spot in the rankings – eight points clear of Everton in the bottom three – but the Lions still have a game in hand on most of the sides around them and will meet Burnley twice before the campaign concludes.

The fact that the hosts have only managed to score two goals in their five-game string of failures will be even more concerning for Gerrard, whose side have also won just one of their last seven Premier League games at Villa Park and have kept just one league clean sheet at home since December.

With Liverpool and Manchester City also lying in wait for Villa before the season ends, the importance of gleaning a positive result this weekend cannot be understated, and it is one that may send Norwich back down to the second tier once again.

Villa boss Gerrard has no fresh concerns to report from the draw with Leicester, and Bertrand Traore is fit to return from a groin strain, but Morgan Sanson will miss out once more.

Kortney Hause‘s abdominal issue is also keeping him sidelined, and Lucas Digne is battling to be fit before the end of the season due to a shoulder injury, with Ashley Young deputising for the time being.

Philippe Coutinho and Leon Bailey both had quiet afternoons in the draw with Leicester, and ex-Norwich man Emiliano Buendia or Danny Ings could both now come into contention to replace the latter up top.

As for Norwich, Smith has a number of long-term absentees of his own in Adam IdahOzan Kabak and Andrew Omobamidele to work around, but Lukas Rupp is in with a good chance of returning from a knee issue.

On a brighter note, the Canaries should be boosted by the return of Joshua Sargent to the matchday squad, but the 22-year-old may only be considered for minutes from the bench after a month-long absence.

As a result, Kieran Dowell should hold his place in the final third for the time being, while Ben Gibson and Max Aarons can feel confident about their chances of returning to the backline.

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Smith also revealed in his pre-match press conference that Christoph Zimmermann would miss out owing to a hip problem, and Kenny McLean is set for an injection to cope with a toe fracture; Billy Gilmour is on standby should the pain prove too severe for McLean to play through.

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Young; McGinn, Luiz, Ramsey; Buendia, Watkins, Coutinho

Norwich City possible starting lineup:
Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Williams; Gilmour, Normann, Lees-Melou; Dowell, Pukki, Rashica

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