Aston Villa head coach Steve Bruce has explained the absence of Ahmed Elmohamady during Saturday's Championship outing versus Queens Park Rangers. The west Midlands outfit secured a 2-1 victory over the Rangers at Loftus Road, and this has propelled them to fifth in the standings.

Speaking after the game, Bruce revealed that he rested Elmohamady for the encounter owing to his participation against Ghana in the final World Cup qualifier game. Mile Jedinak was in a similar position after his match-winning effort for Australia against Honduras, but Bruce named him in his matchday squad.

He said: "I just left him completely. The same with Jedinak, I just thought I’d put Jedinak on the bench because you know what it’s going to be like here in the last 10/15 minutes if you need defensive cover. Elmo, I just decided to leave him out completely because he’s been all over Africa. Thankfully I got it right."

Veteran striker Jamie Mackie gave Queens Park Rangers an early lead in the first-half, but they were pegged back by Alberto Adomah's penalty right before half-time. The Ghana international continued his good scoring form in the second period as he popped up with the winning goal in the 58th minute.

The result sees Villa bridge a three-point gap to the trailing pack, and this gives them some leeway as they head into the busy festive schedule. Next up, the Villains take on Chris Coleman's Sunderland in a midweek Championship game, and they will relish the chance of securing three points against an out of form Sunderland side.

The Black Cats have won just a solitary game all season, and their situation looks bleak at the moment as they are staring at potential back-to-back relegations. Coleman managed to weave his magic during time with the Wales national team, but he has a huge job on his hand to lift the Wearside club from their misery.