Aston Villa v Chelsea

Last season: 0-2

ADDING A Stone to his squad was one thing for John Gregory but seeing Aston Villa dropping like a stone down the Premiership table is quite another. The hope for the manager is that one, Steve Stone, the recent pounds 5.5m signing from Nottingham Forest, will help arrest the other, beginning with the visit of Chelsea tomorrow.

Stone should make his home debut at Villa Park safe in the knowledge that he will be able to revert to his preferred right midfield slot, after having to play wing-back - and second-fiddle to David Ginola - in the 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane last week.

A fit-again Steve Watson will reclaim the wing-back role, while Dion Dublin (left) returns from suspension to lead an attack that has helped take just one point from the last 21. It could be that Dublin and Paul Merson will have a point to prove to England's caretaker manager Kevin Keegan after failing to gain a Pole position in the squad for next Saturday's Euro 2000 qualifier.

Dublin's return could see Stan Collymore lose his starting place, while Ian Taylor is struggling with an injury and Simon Grayson is definitely ruled out. Despite these doubts Gregory is his usual upbeat self: "There's no reason why our boys can't get their act together again for the final two months of this season, and the good thing is that a few bodies are coming back into the frame."

After securing a European Cup-Winners' Cup semi-final berth against the Spanish side Real Mallorca with a comfortable 6-2 aggregate win over Valerenga in midweek, Chelsea's player-manager Gianluca Vialli should have his French defensive pairing of Franck Leboeuf and Marcel Desailly, absent in Norway, back from injury.

Another defender, Albert Ferrer, has a back problem but is also hoping to be fit, although the midfielder Roberto di Matteo has to serve a one- match ban. With the Italian suspended, Desailly could be asked to move into the centre of the park - a role he often performed for Milan - with Michael Duberry keeping his place in central defence.

Vialli is almost certain to stand down from the attack and recall Gianfranco Zola (right). The little Italian maestro was spared the miserable conditions in Norway, a case of Vialli needing to keep some of his powder dry if Chelsea are to remain in the three-horse race for the Premiership title with Manchester United and Arsenal. Midfielder Bjarne Goldbaek, who has ably covered for long-term injury Gustavo Poyet, and striker Mikael Forssell are available after being cup-tied.

ASTON VILLA (from): Bosnich, Watson, Southgate, Scimeca, Barry, Wright, Stone, Taylor, Hendrie, Draper, Thompson, Merson, Dublin, Collymore, Joachim, Oakes, Delaney, Byfield, Samuel.

CHELSEA (from): De Goey, Ferrer, Duberry, Leboeuf, Le Saux, Goldbaek, Desailly, Wise, Babayaro, Zola, Flo, Forssell, Petrescu, Newton, Nicholls, Terry, Morris, Myers, Lambourde, Hitchcock.

Suspensions: Chelsea: Di Matteo.

Referee: G Barber.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen