Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce is set to put aside his personal life grief this weekend and will return to the dugout, with his side set to face bitter rivals Birmingham City in the Second City derby.

Bruce has been given compassionate leave after the death of his father on Tuesday, and hasn’t been seen at the club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground in recent days, with Bruce having been comforting his grieving and very poorly mother.

However the 57-year old is ready to return this weekend ahead of the crunch match on Sunday. Talking about Bruce’s return, assistant manager Colin Calderwood said;

We hope he will be here on Sunday, and part of our job is to help throughout the week. That is what we are doing.

Stephen Clemence, Gary Walsh, Steve Agnew and myself have to get the team to Sunday, get the group of players there ready, and we hope Steve will be there with us.

We are in contact with him daily. He will pick the team and we will be ready without his presence this week, but his presence is always there with the players anyway.

The Villans are currently going through a purple patch, having won their last six league matches on the spin, and Bruce hopes to continue to extend their rich vein of form. With the game sold out, Calderwood continued;

It becomes more and more exciting by the day as we get closer to kick off.

We’ve got to be right and we’ve got to be ready. The atmosphere should be fantastic.

Everyone is looking forward to the stadium being full again for a big derby match.