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Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce wary of Sunderland threat

Chris Coleman is refusing to give up in relegation battle.

Steve Bruce has warned Aston Villa they can take nothing for granted when they head for bottom-of-the-table Sunderland on Tuesday night.

The former Black Cats boss is currently targeting promotion from the Sky Bet Championship and three points at the Stadium of Light would do third-placed Villa’s cause no harm at all.

However, Bruce is wary of the threat posed by Chris Coleman’s improving side.

He told avfc.co.uk: “Sunderland have scored three against Middlesbrough, they’ve scored three against Bristol City and they’ve gone to Millwall and got a result at the weekend, so, all of a sudden, they’re finding something.

“They have gone through a tough time, but Sunderland away is never going to be easy.”

Sunderland are without a win in seven league games and find themselves four points adrift of safety, although Coleman is not about to throw in the towel.

He told a press conference: “We’ve got 11 games, 33 points, we’re four points from where we need to be after the last game, so that’s not insurmountable.

“We are still in there with a big, big chance.”

With leaders Wolves not in action until Wednesday evening, second-placed Cardiff will hope to reduce their six-point advantage when they entertain lowly Barnsley, while Fulham will look to maintain their challenge by extending their unbeaten league run to 14 games when Sheffield United visit Craven Cottage.

Derby need to halt their alarming slide – the Rams are without a win in five – if they are to stay in the promotion race when they travel to QPR, while Preston and Bristol City meet at Deepdale on the back of welcome weekend victories.

New Birmingham manager Garry Monk faces a reunion with the club which dispensed with his services in December as Middlesbrough head for St Andrew’s sitting in seventh place after Friday night’s 3-0 victory over Leeds.

The Blues, who parted company with Steve Cotterill over the weekend following a fifth successive league defeat, go into the game two points shy of safety.

Burton, who are one place and a single point worse off, welcome Brentford to the Pirelli Stadium, while Hull, who sit precariously above the drop zone, entertain a Millwall side that have gone nine Championship games without defeat.

Ipswich will attempt to build upon an impressive 1-0 win at Preston last time out when they make the trip to Sheffield Wednesday, who have lost their last three, while Norwich will hope to improve upon a run of four successive draws against Nottingham Forest, who will arrive with back-to-back wins to their name.

Bolton travel to Reading to meet a Royals side that have won just once in 14 attempts with both sides lying too close for comfort to the bottom three.

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