Steve Bruce admits he is relishing the occasion of an away trip to Derby County, saying it has all the ingredients to be a gripping match.
The two sides sit fourth and fifth in the Sky Bet Championship, with the Rams just one point ahead of Bruce's side prior to today's clash.
And the manager knows that the standings add to the spice of this match-up.
He said: "It’s another big test this weekend against a very good Derby team, who are top of the form tables.
"It’s a big occasion, big game, big crowd – just what you look forward to.
"They will pose a very big challenge. They have some very good players and, as a football club, they have been there or thereabouts but not quite made it.
"Gary Rowett has done an excellent job. We know what to expect from a side managed by him – we know what he demands.
"It will be a very good game at the top end of the Championship – one to look forward to.
"I haven’t done too badly there in the past. Touch wood, let’s hope that continues."
The match is the first of a huge double header against promotion rivals in the space of seven days, with sixth-placed Sheffield United coming to Villa Park next weekend.
Highflying Bristol City are also opponents over the festive period, with Bruce stressing it couldn't be more of a challenge.
He added: "We have big games coming up.
"If you look at it, by the turn of the year, we will have been away to all the top eight, which is good that we have all of them to play at home.
"It’s a big, important month coming up – it couldn’t have been more difficult over a crazy period of time.
"It’s an important few weeks coming up."