Aston Villa boss Dean Smith will lock horns with Norwich once again wary of the firepower which has already seen them claim a major Premier League scalp.
The Canaries beat Villa 2-1 both home and away last season as they fought for promotion from the Sky Bet Championship with Daniel Farke’s men eventually emerging as champions and Smith’s side via the play-offs.
Life has been tougher for both in the top flight and they head into Saturday’s clash at Carrow Road sitting in 17th and 18th places in the table with Norwich, who beat champions Manchester City 3-2 last month, a point better off.
Smith said: “Anybody who can beat Manchester City in this league is a team to be reckoned with, and they’ve done that already at Carrow Road, so we know they’ve got firepower within their team.
“They’re tough to play against. We had two tight games against them last season and came out on the wrong side of a 2-1 both times.
“But they won’t have played against this Aston Villa and some of my players won’t have played against them before.
“But it’s a game that we’re looking forward to and I’m sure it’s a game that both teams are looking at to try to get three points.”
Striker Teemu Pukki’s goals were key in Norwich’s promotion drive and will be just as important this time around with the six he has claimed already underlining his swift adaptation to Premier League football.
Smith said: “I had a look at him when I was Brentford coach as well, in all honesty. He’s a good player. He scored a lot of goals last season.
“I saw him play a number of times for Celtic as well when he was there and he certainly upped his level last season, and he’s started the season well this season, scoring goals again.
“He’s a handful and one our centre-backs have to be very wary of.”
Villa will run out hoping for another start after taking the lead in six of their nine games in all competitions so far this season, although they have won just three of them.
However, Smith said: “We’re certainly doing something right if we’ve taken the lead six times this season.
“We’ll continue to go toe-to-toe with teams and try to beat them. The biggest thing that’s been missing is that second goal for us this season so far.”
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