The next week will make or break the rest of Aston Villa’s first season in the Championship since relegation, with the Villans currently sitting ten points behind the play-off positions and a few players short of a side that could even consider a promotion push.
For Dr. Tony Xia and Keith Wyness, the next week will be the biggest test since the takeover in the summer and it will be season defining.
The owner backed Roberto Di Matteo in the summer with a wealth of signings but many are yet to deliver and he is going to have to dig deep once more to ensure that Steve Bruce has the means to fix the glaring problems in the Aston Villa ranks.
Steve Bruce seemingly has many irons in the fire as he looks to resurrect the sleeping lion. With Rudy Gestede and Pierluigi Gollini having left the club this month and only goalkeeper Sam Johnstone coming the opposite way, getting new players in over the next five days is key to the club’s play-off hopes.
Preston North End are the Villans’ next opponents at Villa Park on Saturday. The Lilywhites are in a good vein of form and will face a shaken Aston Villa side lacking in confidence, quality and the sort of intensity needed from a side that can secure promotion.
It is as clear as day that the midfield has a huge gap in it and the strike force is currently non-existent with Jordan Ayew and Jonathan Kodjia away on international duty. Fans’ hopes of reaching the play-offs are fading at a rate of knots.
I firmly believe that we will get the right bodies in but it’s been proven already that the bulldozer approach in the summer didn’t work out, leaving us with a top-heavy forward line up to January and very little depth in any other area.
Bruce et al need to decide whether to focus on getting the bodies in to attempt to go up first time or whether to get the right men in to see us through until the summer, when the manager and owner can reassess the situation.
As the games go by, I am beginning to think another year in the Championship may not be a bad thing for us but I am also wholeheartedly behind the idea of throwing the kitchen sink at the transfer window and doing whatever it takes to get the men in who can guide the club back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
It is ridiculous to hear fans calling for the axing of Steve Bruce without the man being allowed to even shape his squad. He has mentioned plenty of times that things are not going as planned and that he needs new players in. We are halfway through the window and I am as disappointed as anyone that we haven’t got the men in yet and that the next week really is make or break for any promotion hope we still have.
There are still more than twenty games to go this season and it isn’t all doom and gloom. We haven’t played brilliantly by any stretch of the imagination so far under Steve Bruce he is an experienced man who knows what needs to be done to revive the club’s footballing fortunes.