Aston Villa will be looking to continue their impressive start to life under Alex McLeish against Hereford in the Carling Cup this evening.
Indeed, failure to do so would be extremely embarrassing for the Birmingham side given the gulf in class between the two teams.
While Villa have started their season with a credible away draw with Fulham and a home win against Blackburn, the opening four games of Hereford’s league campaign have left them in the League Two relegation zone.
Defeated in their first three league games, Hereford only picked up their first point with a 1-1 draw against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
And while the Bulls progressed to the second round of the Carling Cup with a 1-0 win over Brentford, there is no denying they have suffered a bad start to the season with just two goals scored and nine conceded in five matches.
With this in mind, Aston Villa look good to keep a clean sheet at odds of 67/100, let alone win in 90 minutes at odds of 4/25.
This is even allowing for the fact that Villa boss McLeish is expected to give opportunities to a number of fringe players.
Nevertheless, Ciaran Clark, one of the Aston Villa youngsters set to be given a chance this evening, has warned that his side cannot afford to treat their opponents lightly, pointing to past results such as Liverpool’s loss to Northampton in the competition last year as evidence that Premier League teams are not guaranteed an easy ride against lower-league opposition.
“It’s shown in the past that Premier League teams have played against lower-league teams lost,” he told the Birmingham Mail.
“So you can’t take anything for granted. You can’t show any complacency.
“We’ve got to go out there with the right attitude from the kick-off and play as if we were playing against a Premier League team.”
Anyone who thinks Hereford can record an upset can back them at 23/4 to secure a draw in 90 minutes or win at odds of 31/2, although a safer option might be to bet on the Bulls to secure a win or draw in the double-chance market.
At odds of 4/1, a successful bet on a draw or Hereford win in the double-chance market would return £125.
However, Villa should have enough pedigree to ease past their opponents regardless of which players they put out.
As such, punters should consider betting on Villa to be ahead at half-time and go on to win the match at odds of 1/2, not least because the Birmingham side had a better record in the first half of matches at Villa Park last season than they did in the second-half.
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