I have tried to remain optimistic over the last few weeks. I still had hope that we could make the Championship playoffs. Well, since the West Brom defeat, my optimism has waned, no, actually, it has nearly diminished. Any hopes of still reaching the playoffs have all but extinguished but does that mean our season is over?
Yes, I hear the majority of you cry and I agree, short term it certainly could be. At the start of the season and once again when Dean Smith took over, I was convinced we would gain promotion this year.
Yet, here we are, nine points behind Bristol City who occupy the sixth spot and have two games in hand over us. We need to go on an almighty winning run to catch up and hope that the teams above us slip up at the same time.
Despite reading in the media this week that Jack Grealish could be back on the bench, Smith dismissed these stories. Smith said his fitness levels were improving but he still isn’t ready after being out for two months.
Granted, we could have done with him this weekend against Stoke. In fact, we could have done with him a long time ago. On his return, could he help us return to winning ways and once again we get thinking to what could have been?
I don’t need to go into detail as we all know we have missed him massively since his injury. He could just add that much-needed spark on his return.
Defining games coming up
Aston Villa will come up against Stoke, Derby, Blues, Forest, Middlesbrough and Blackburn in the coming weeks.
These are all tough games but games we are more than capable of winning. They will ultimately define our season and decide our fate once and for all this season. The playoffs are still not impossible and its a long shot but you never know.
Norwich and Bristol City meet this Saturday and hopefully, the Canaries can help us by taking three points from City.
I feel that it’s a slim chance but you never know. Stranger things have happened in football. Hopefully, we can pick up three points Saturday, build up some momentum and then go from there.
Either way, whether we make the playoffs or not, let’s get behind the team and Dean Smith.