In great news for Ange Postecoglou, Caltex Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak made his return to competitive action overnight and earned praise from his club boss.
The midfielder played the last 30 minutes of a hard-fought but ultimately goal-less Midlands derby against Birmingham in the Championship.
It was Jedinak's first appearance for nearly seven weeks as he battles a lingering groin complaint.
And the Aussie showed enough in his return to impress Villa boss Steve Bruce.
"He was excellent. He negated their physical threat," Bruce told www.avfc.co.uk.
"It was important that he did that because we had a few problems with their physicality.
"I thought he was excellent when he came on – he did very, very well."
Aston Villa travel to Preston North End on Thursday before hosting Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday morning (AEST).
Elsewhere, Mat Ryan helped Brighton and Hove Albion extend their unbeaten English Premier League streak to three matches after a 1-1 home draw against Southampton.
The Caltex Socceroos custodian was powerless to stop Steven Davis opening the scoring after just seven minutes.
Glenn Murray equalised just after half-time to give the Seagulls a share of the points.
Brighton are 12th after ten games and travel to Swansea this weekend before Ryan jets out to link up with the Caltex Socceroos for their winner-takes-all World Cup playoff against Honduras.
Disappointment for Vukovic in Belgium Cup final
Caltex Socceroos gloveman Danny Vukovic has suffered heartbreak in the Belgium Cup final, going down 1-0 after extra-time against Standard Liege. In a tense and cagey final, both sides struggled to create chances as scores were locked at 0-0 after 90 minutes. But Liege stru
Aussies Abroad: Kruse stars again in Germany
Robbie Kruse will head into Caltex Socceroos camp in confident mood this week after continuing his impressive form with 2.Bundesliga outfit VFL Bochum overnight. The former Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory flyer had an assist as Bochum came from two goals down to beat Sandh
Mooy’s Huddersfield slump to EPL defeat against Palace
Caltex Socceroos playmaker Aaron Mooy could do nothing to inspire Huddersfield Town in the Premier League overnight, going down 2-0 to relegation rivals Crystal Palace. In his second match back from a knee injury, Mooy got through the full 90 minutes for David Wagner’s men at
Championship wrap: Luongo scores in QPR’s impressive comeback
Caltex Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo scored a classy goal as QPR came-from-behind to snatch a 2-2 draw against promotion candidates Fulham in the English Championship overnight. Fulham, unbeaten in their last 15 matches, led 2-0 heading into first-half stoppage-time befo