Aston Villa go into the second-leg of their play-off with Middlesbrough on Tuesday evening knowing that even a draw will be enough to send them to Wembley on Saturday the 26th May.
Fulham defeated Derby 2-0 on Monday evening, to win 2-1 on aggregate, so they will be Villa’s opponents should they manage to make it past Middlesbrough.
Despite the fact that Villa only need a draw to progress, we hope that Bruce doesn’t set his team out to defend from the start. If he does, it might just be the longest 90 minutes of every Villa fan’s life. Although, I’m sure we’d all eventually forgive him if it worked and earned us a place in the final.
In an ideal world, Villa will get an early goal or two to settle the nerves and make it a relatively comfortable evening, but we all know that Villa never do anything the easy way.
Here is our predicted Villa XI to face Middlesbrough on Tuesday evening:
GK: Sam Johnstone
Bruce doesn’t even need to think twice about this one. Will definitely start.
RB: James Bree
With Elmohamady out injured, we reckon Bruce will play Bree at right-back.
CB: James Chester
Chester had yet another solid game in the heart of defence on Saturday, and there’s no way he will be left out tomorrow evening.
CB: John Terry
Terry might be aging, but he has shown time and time again that he still has what it takes. One of the first names on the team sheet.
LB: Alan Hutton
Hutton kept Traore quiet in the first-leg and Bruce will be hoping that he can do the same again.
RM: Robert Snodgrass
CM: Mile Jedinak
Jedinak had a fantastic game on Saturday, so we don’t see Bruce dropping him for Tuesday evening.
CM: Conor Hourihane
Didn’t have the best of games on Saturday evening, but Bruce will be hoping that he can use his creativity to help send Villa to Wembley.
CM: Jack Grealish
Grealish terrorized Middlesbrough on Saturday evening and there’s no way that Bruce will leave him out tomorrow.
LM: Albert Adomah
There have been calls for Bruce to drop Adomah for the second-leg, but we don’t see Bruce listening to those calls.
ST: Lewis Grabban
He is Villa’s most potent striker at the moment, so we expect to see him leading the line.