By Jonty Banks

9th Mar, 2023 | 9:30pm

Ruesha Littlejohn restored after injury - Aston Villa Women predicted starting XI v West Ham

Carla Ward is predicted to make two changes to her Aston Villa starting line-up for their upcoming clash against West Ham on Sunday, 12 March. 

The Villans will look to stretch their unbeaten run in the Women’s Super League to five games when they travel to East London, and Ward has an almost fully fit squad to select her team from. 

Hannah Hampton has been in terrific form since being restored to the starting line-up in recent weeks, and after keeping a clean sheet against Everton will keep her position in between the sticks. 

Ward is expected to leave her back four unchanged, with Rachel Corsie and Dan Turner starting in the heart of the defence and Sarah Mayling and Maz Pacheco on either side of them at full-back. 

Pacheco, in particular, will be looking to build on her stand-out showing against the Toffees, which included three interceptions, two blocks, and 33 carries when in possession of the ball. [Aston Villa Women Twitter account]

Ward has plenty of options to choose from in midfield, with Kenza Dali predicted to be restored after netting the first goal against Everton last week and Jordan Nobbs remaining at the base of Villa’s midfield. 

Although Lucy Staniforth has been an ever-present since her transfer from Manchester United in the January transfer window, Laura Blindkilde Brown and Ruesha Littlejohn are breathing down her for game time, and an opportunity to give them a run-out shouldn’t be dismissed.

After getting 15 minutes from the bench last week, we expect 68-capped Republic of Ireland international Littlejohn to be handed her first start for Villa since returning from her long-term injury.

In the attack, the irreplaceable Rachel Daly will lead the line and look to build upon her ten league goals from 14 appearances this season.

Alisha Lehmann’s poor form continued against Everton, so it is predicted that Laura Blindkilde Brown will be restored to the team on the right side of Villa’s attack.

Kirsty Hanson’s impressive form under Ward since the mid-season break grants her a position on the left wing. So far this season, only Ella Toone (7) and Lauren Kemp (8) have created more big chances in the Women’s Super League than Hanson (6).

In other Aston Villa news, the club has been tipped to sign a new striker to aid their bid to return to European football.