The Championship season has finally come to a close and our attention now fixes firmly upon the playoffs and hopefully promotion.
Our first game comes this Saturday, in what will be a tough game at the Riverside – home of Middlesbrough. Many Villa fans would have preferred to face Derby despite them being the only side have failed to beat this season, in the playoff semi-finals and although I was one of these fans, I am also confident that we have what it takes to beat Tony Pulis’ side over two legs.
One thing we also need to remember is that away goals do not count in the playoffs, so it makes the chance of the game being decided on penalties stronger. Of course, this is not how we want to win, but the players need to practice as this is definitely a possibility.
To get to Wembley in front of a packed out Villa Park would be phenomenal. The players will have never heard an atmosphere like it and hopefully, this can spur them on to give an excellent performance and get us one step closer to promotion back to the Premier League.
The other fixture in the play offs is Derby County v Fulham. The favorites for this game are Fulham but like last season, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if they fell at the first hurdle purely because the playoffs are so unpredictable.
Pulis has recently started the mind games by stating that the pressure should all be on Steve Bruce as his Villa side as they have the strongest squad in the division.
Although this is just a motivation and mind games tactic from the former West Brom manager who seems to obsess over our football club, he does have a point.
We have spent a lot of money and on paper, we have the best squad in the division. We have a mix of youth and experience. We have pace in attack and are able to defend as if our lives depend on it. On our day we are capable of beating anyone.
Aston Villa is not the favourites to get promoted from the league but we have just as good a chance as any of the others. We have proven this season that we can be one of the best in the league on our day but we have also shown plenty of weaknesses along the way.
Promotion is not guaranteed but I think we have a realistic shot at lifting that playoff trophy. Do you think we will get promotion this season?