- Odd News
Paul Lambert would love three points against Stoke this weekend, and he could have winger Charles N'Zogbia back to help him.
The ex-Newcastle man has returned to training after a six-week absence with a knee problem.
Skipper and centre-back Ron Vlaar remains a major doubt with a calf problem which ruled him out of the last two games with Reading and QPR.
Left-backs Enda Stevens (ankle) and Joe Bennett (knee) are still sidelined as Villa look to extend their unbeaten run to four matches.
Villa (provisional squad): Guzan, Given, Lowton, Clark, Vlaar, Lichaj, Baker, Ireland, El Ahmadi, Herd, Westwood, Bannan, Delph, Holman, Bent, Agbonlahor, Benteke, Bowery, Weimann, Burke, Johnson, Williams, N'Zogbia.
Lambert's opposite number Tony Pulis is also hoping he will have human beanpole Peter Crouch available for the game.
Crouch, who missed last weekend's 1-0 victory at West Brom having lost some teeth in a collision with Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini in the previous match, has had a mouth guard fitted and is being monitored in training, while Pulis is also optimistic forward Cameron Jerome will be fit for selection after an ankle injury kept him out of the Baggies contest.
It remains to be seen whether or not fellow frontman Michael Owen, sidelined for the last few weeks by a hamstring problem, is ready to feature again, and the Potters will definitely be without midfielders Charlie Adam, who serves a one-match suspension, and Rory Delap (hernia), along with defender Marc Wilson (broken leg).
Provisional squad: Begovic, Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Cameron, Upson, Shotton, Wilkinson, Whelan, Etherington, Palacios, Jones, Jerome, Crouch, Walters, Kightly, Edu, Nzonzi, Ness, Whitehead, Owen.