Villa to hold firm and book Wembley place

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Aston Villa carry a 1-0 lead into their Championship play-off second leg against Middlesbrough and home advantage should prove enough to book their place against Fulham at Wembley.

Villa 11/2 to win 1-0

Mile Jedinak’s early goal separated the teams at the Riverside and it is likely to be just as cagey at Villa Park.

These two have only managed four goals between them in their four meetings this season and neither Steve Bruce nor Tony Pulis is likely to go out looking to take the game to the opposition.

Bruce has won promotion from the Championship four times during his managerial career and has built an experienced squad peppered with plenty of quality.

Their defence is especially impressive, with John Terry’s leadership and James Chester’s class likely to be enough to keep Boro at bay.

The Villans have lost just one of their last 10 at Villa Park, while Middlesbrough have won just two of their last nine away games.

17/10 for Under 1.5 Goals

In a tense and tight affair, I’m backing Villa to do the job again and just like Saturday, I feel one goal will separate the sides.

For all his experience, Pulis does not have the same level of play-off knowhow as Bruce and I expect the 57-year-old Villa chief to guide his team through to Wembley.

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