Villa are currently on level points with Birmingham ahead of Sunday’s clash.

Darius Vassell has told Sky Sports that he expects Aston Villa to finish higher than second city rivals Birmingham City in the Championship table this season, ahead of Sunday’s clash between the two sides.

Villa currently sit on 24 points in 11th place after 17 Championship, level on points with Garry Monk’s Birmingham but only with a better goal difference. The Blues sit in 12th.

It makes Sunday’s clash all the more important as Monk continues to drag Birmingham away from pre-season predictions of a relegation battle, while Dean Smith is looking to push Villa to where they should be – the top six.

Former Aston Villa striker Vassell reckons that Villa will finish above Birmingham come the end of the Championship campaign, and also thinks Villa will come out winners in Sunday’s clash at Villa Park.

“Villa, Villa, for the answers to those two questions [who will win on Sunday, and who will finish higher],” Vassell said. “But you’re right, it is tight in the table. It could be one of the biggest derbies that we have had.

“I think we’re on equal points as well. Whoever wins the match gets the glory for that week, and certainly for the next few months.”

Villa come into the game off the back of a 3-0 win away at Frank Lampard’s Derby County, Smith’s third win in charge in five games after replacing Steve Bruce. But he has a number of injury concerns.

James Chester, John McGinn and Neil Taylor are all doubts for the clash, while Birkir Bjarnason has undergone groin surgery to correct the muscle problem. 

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