Continuing in the vein of my recent posts, our season does still have a glimmer of hope. We must ensure we don’t get ahead of ourselves, just yet anyway.
Aston Villa currently sits eleventh in the Championship, six points behind Bristol City in the final playoff position. We have managed to claw some points back in recent weeks but Bristol still has a game in hand. They will come up against automatic promotion-chasing Leeds this Saturday though. So we can only hope that things go our way.
It is all ifs and buts. Villa still needs to go across the City and beat Birmingham on Sunday. There is a chance that we could find ourselves just three points outside the playoff positions as the weekend closes.
Other sides above us also have hard games coming up. Derby will come up against Steve Bruce’s Sheffield Wednesday. Nottingham Forest and Hull both play each other, who currently sit ninth and tenth respectively. As I stated, it is all if’s and buts. We must just concentrate on getting three points this weekend.
The return of Jack Grealish
The return of Jack Grealish did not disappoint. Our star man helped with a convincing 4-0 victory over Derby County. Was it purely down to Grealish or were Villa generally getting better?
I would say it is hard to argue that Grealish didn’t play his part. Although he didn’t look 100% fit, you could see he gave his teammates a huge lift in morale. He is easily the best player in the Championship and he draws opposition players to him. It allows other players to get forward – Conor Hourihane, I am looking at you.
Our recent performances have been showing improvements too. Glenn Whelan deserves a mention for his form of late. Kortney Hause is finally finding his feet and settling in. Don’t get me started on Tyrone Mings. He has been phenomenal since he signed.
I just hope that with Jacks return from injury and the upturn in form, we still have a glimmer of hope that we can make the playoffs.
Midfield selection dilemma
The last thing I will touch on is our midfield options going into the derby on Sunday. John McGinn is in contention to be available but is there space for him at the moment?
Does Dean Smith change a winning team to include arguably our best player of the season? Smith will relish finally having a selection headache, something he hasn’t had since his arrival. Both Whelan and Hourihane have earned an opportunity to play Sunday and let’s face it, Grealish will start.
The only way I can see McGinn starting is if we play with one winger but that will be another change in our system. If he starts on the bench, what an option to have from the bench.