Steve Bruce: Aston Villa manager hoping to be at Blues derby after compassionate leave

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce
Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce won the Championship manager of the month award for January

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce is hoping to be on the touchline for Sunday's derby against Birmingham following the death of his father.

Bruce has been on compassionate leave this week to be with his ill mother after the passing of his father, Joe.

Assistant boss Colin Calderwood said Villa would be ready to face Birmingham at Villa Park if Bruce is there or not.

"We hope he will be here on Sunday and part of our job is to help throughout the week," Calderwood said.

"Stephen Clemence, Gary Walsh, Steve Agnew and myself have to get the team to Sunday and we hope Steve will be there with us.

"We're in contact with him daily. He will pick the team and we will be ready without his presence this week, but his presence is always there with the players anyway."

Alex Bruce tweet
Bruce's son Alex posted news of his grandfather's passing on social media on Tuesday

Villa are third in the Championship, a point behind second-placed Derby County, and will be looking for a seventh successive league win on Sunday.

Bruce was named Championship manager of the month for his work over January, which included a 5-0 victory over Bristol City and 1-0 away wins at Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.

His in-form side will be cheered on by a sell-out Villa Park crowd, with recent loan signing Lewis Grabban available to make his debut after coming through a week of training.

Grealish in 'fine form'

Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish scored his first goal of the season in Villa's 3-2 win over Burton Albion on 3 February

Villa's recent purple patch has been built on a settled and firing front line of Scott Hogan, Robert Snodgrass and Albert Adomah.

Another player who has caught is eye is midfielder Jack Grealish, who scored in Villa's most recent win - a 3-2 home victory against Burton on 3 February.

"It's a good storyline," Calderwood said. "He is in fine form and is bringing all the momentum and talent to the forefront at the minute and making an impact in games.

"As much as he is catching the headlines going forward, his effort for the team and his physical output is also really high at the moment."

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