Aston Villa supporters have been pretty downbeat in recent times after seeing their side suffer their second Championship defeat of the season at the weekend.
Steve Bruce’s men went into their clash with Sheffield Wednesday at Villa Park having got back to winning ways by beating Rotherham United in their previous league encounter, and thus seeking back-to-back victories for just the second time this term. Yet the Villans were unable to record what would have been a fourth win of the campaign as goals from Marco Matias and Steven Fletcher either side of a sensational John McGinn strike sealed a 2-1 success for the Owls, thus prompting boos from the home supporters at the final whistle.
Thus, there have been many despondent and angry Villa fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are wondering what the future does indeed hold for their football club, both in the short term and indeed the long term.
And with several winnable-looking games on paper coming up for the Villans in the next few weeks, there is little doubt that, even at this early stage of the campaign, Bruce’s men face a season-defining month.
Ultimately, while they slipped to 13th place as a result of a second defeat of the season on Saturday, the Villans are just five points adrift of leaders Leeds United and Middlesbrough, and only three points adrift of the top six – thus, things aren’t as bad as they seem.
And while a trip to Bristol City on Friday night is certain to be a tough one, what with Lee Johnson’s men currently sat eighth in the table, four of their five games after that are against teams currently below Bruce’s side in the division.
After their visit to Ashton Gate on Friday, the Villans host bottom side Preston North End at the start of October before visiting third-bottom Millwall a few days later – they are must-win matches.
Graham Potter’s Swansea, currently the place below Villa in the table, then visit Villa Park after the international break before Bruce’s men face Daniel Farke’s Norwich on October 23, the only team as it stands that the Villans will face in October above them in the division – they then round off the month with a trip to 16th place Queens Park Rangers.
Yes, no game in the Championship is easy, as several managers will testify, but Villa will surely look at the upcoming run of fixtures until the end of October as opportunities to get themselves back into promotion contention – Bruce will surely see it as a chance to get the supporters back onside.
They came close last season to returning to the top-flight, and while financial issues looked set to cripple them during the summer, new investment means that the aim, and perhaps the minimum, this term is to indeed reach the promised land.
And that is why, with Bruce’s side currently sat in 13th place in the division, the Midlands giants look set to face what could be a season-defining month in the next four weeks or so.
Get it right, and the Villans will be there or thereabouts heading into the winter period. Get it wrong, and Bruce could well be out of a job, and Villa could be destined for at least another season in the second tier.
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