Aston Villa were top of the table having played a game more than their closest rivals Manchester United. But a spate of injuries and a small squad was threatening to stretch their squad beyond limits. They were heading into a crucial period of matches without their influential midfielder Garry Parker who had a rib injury from their home game against Everton.
Dalian Atkinson was also doubtful with a muscle injury and Dwight Yorke and Mattias Breitkreutz were kept on stand by but had limited first-team game time since the start of the year. Mike Walker had just come back from injury and done play in the reserves game against QPR but Ron Atkinson wasn’t convinced that he was ready for a start.