Premier League Preview: Aston Villa v Hull City

Paul Lambert endured the wrath of Aston Villa fans last weekend and the Scot can ill afford another defeat against Hull City on Saturday.

The Midlands club are just three points above the Premier League relegation zone after they were consigned to a 4-1 hammering at Swansea City.

That defeat at the Liberty Stadium last Saturday ensured out-of-sorts Villa have picked up a meagre one point from their last six games and increased the pressure on Lambert.

Although Villa have a game in hand, that comes in the form of a trip to title favourites Manchester City next Wednesday before they face Tottenham at White Hart Lane on the final day of the season.

So a home clash with FA Cup finalists Hull appears to represent their best opportunity of picking up three precious points and avoid being dragged deeper into the mire.

Gabriel Agbonlahor this week referred to Villa's last home game of the campaign as possibly the biggest of the players' careers.

The striker vowed to rise to the occasion and a defiant Lambert stated after the Swansea defeat that he would not shy away from criticism from his own fans.

The former Norwich City manager, however, urged the Villa faithful to get behind his side as they go in search of what could be a crucial sixth home win of the campaign.

Lambert's future has been called into question not only due to their dismal form, but also given that owner Randy Lerner is considering selling the club.

The 44-year-old could, however, finally have reasons to be cheerful if Villa's record against Hull is anything to go by.

Hull have suffered defeat in seven of the last eight meetings between the two sides and you have to go back to 1987 for the last time they even scored a goal against the Midlands club.

Steve Bruce's Hull side are not mathematically safe, but it is highly unlikely they will make an immediate return to the Championship.

They produced a stirring fightback to draw 2-2 at second-bottom Fulham last weekend and are five points better off than third-bottom Norwich City with three games still to play.

Bruce has set his sights finishing as high as possible in the table in order to secure a post-season financial boost through prize money and will be eager to build momentum ahead of the FA Cup final against Arsenal on May 17.

Matt Lowton could return to the Villa starting line-up after impressing Lambert with his display in the second half at Swansea, having replaced Leandro Bacuna at the break due to the Dutchman feeling unwell.

It remains to be seen if fellow Villa defender Joe Bennett (ankle) is available to return, while Bruce could opt to hand a start to Sone Aluko after the Nigeria forward made an impressive impact as a substitute at Craven Cottage.