A look at Aston Villa's tricky next three games

A general view of Villa Park ahead of the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Reading at Villa Park on April 15, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

Aston Villa's credentials will be tested in their upcoming Championship matches.

A general view of Villa Park ahead of the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Reading at Villa Park on April 15, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

Aston Villa’s ability to handle tough situations will be tested in the coming weeks, as they face three incredibly in-form teams in the Championship.

The Villans will be going up against bitter rivals Birmingham City, Fulham and Preston North End, all three of whom are located in the top seven of the form table in the second tier.

The next few weeks will undoubtedly be a huge test of their credentials in relation to their push for promotion, and while they seem to be in a comfortable playoff position, Villa will be eager to push on and continue to challenge Derby County who currently occupy second place.

Birmingham City (H) – Last Game: 0-0 draw

Jota of Birmingham battles with Alan Hutton of Aston Villa  during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Aston Villa at St Andrews on October 29, 2017 in Birmingham,...

The Second City derby is widely considered to be one of the most passionate in English football, and that will likely be the case when these two meet at Villa Park this weekend.

The meeting will see the battle between Steve Bruce’s current and former sides and, while both have been on a roll as of late, the Blues’ 120-minute outing against Huddersfield in midweek could swing the game in the home side’s favour.

Fulham (A) – Last Game: 2-1 win

Stefan Johansen of Fulham is closed down by Gary Gardner of Aston Villa during the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and Aston Villa at Craven Cottage on April 17, 2017 in London,...

Fulham have been utterly ruthless in the last few weeks, outscoring their opponents 12-1 while picking up four wins in the process. They finally seem to have found a system that works with one of the most talented squads in the league, and given how strong the atmosphere can be at Craven Cottage on a good day, Villa will have their work cut out for them.

It will be close, but we can see the Cottagers’ attacking flair seeing them through with a narrow victory.

Preston (H) – Last Game: 2-0 win

Scott Hogan of Aston Villa in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Preston North End and Aston Villa at Deepdale on November 1, 2017 in Preston, England.

Preston have had a reputation for being quite hot and cold at times, although just one loss since New Year’s Day signals that they are starting to turn a corner under Alex Neil.

From a quality standpoint, North End cannot really compete with the likes of Villa, but their tenacity is always going to be a great asset to them. With that being said, a game against league leaders Wolves three days prior to the Villa game could well be the difference-maker.

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