ASTON VILLA v HUDDERSFIELD TOWN - 16 AUGUST 2015 - 19:45 KO.
Sit back, sup your brew as you stare at your office computer and enjoy looking at the league table. It probably won’t last, but right now it’s oh so sweet. Yes two league games down, two wins and only alphabetical order is keeping Town away from an automatic promotion spot.
Yes, we’re only two games in but it’s nice. It’s nice to be positive about the football club I support for once. It’s nice not to fear going to an ex-Premier League side and to be on the end of a drubbing. It’s nice to be entertained week in week out – well nearly all the time.
Aston Villa, our next opponents, are a side that were dismal last season and unceremoniously relegated from the top tier of English football. Their fans quite rightly angry, not only at the way Randy Lerner had run the club but at the players who wore claret and blue. The overpaid, overly pampered prima donnas more interested in sharing their latest toy or holiday on social media than working their arses off for the club that pays them.
Contrast this to the Town team that will play them, now more than used to double training sessions and giving their all. Success is down to hard work and that ethic is evident from David Wagner.
So as Town travel down to Birmingham this Tuesday (what a shame this fixture isn’t on a Saturday) will they be favourites? Probably not. The forward line of Rudy Gestede, Ross McCormack, Jack Grealish and Jordan Ayew look quite formidable and their squad is definitely strong. The question is whether new gaffer Roberto Di Matteo can get the best out of them, the result against Rotherham on Saturday suggests so.
Town on the other hand will be looking for three league win on the bounce. The starting line-up may be subject to some rotation but it would be very hard to rest or drop players who took part in the 2-1 win up in Newcastle. And given the poor performance away at Shrewsbury last week in the EFL Cup, rotation may be the last thing on the mind of the fans.
Town are nearly back to full strength given the return of Nahki Wells from injury at Newcastle and Dean Whitehead completing his three match ban for an alleged stamp in the final game of last season.
David Wagner also confirmed yesterday that Phil Billing and Harry Bunn are back in training and may be available to travel down to Birmingham. The main question for Town is will the once again deploy the so called ‘defensive block’.
Meanwhile, down in Birmingham - Aston Villa are trying to rebuild to see if the promotion push is more than just a pipe dream for Dr Xia.
James Chester looks to be a shrewd signing for Villa, whilst Rudy Gestede will be hoping to continue his Championship goal scoring prowess which earned him a move to the Premier League. Expect Villa to be unchanged after Saturday’s big win against relegation favourites Rotherham.
Here's our Town starting XI (courtesy of The Examiner's pick your team widget)
1-1. Villa will be favourites but I have a sneaky suspicion Town will be able to get something from the game.
THE OPPOSITIONS VIEW
Jonathan Northall - @VDTLavfc
TC: Last season was to be blunt, dire. Where are Aston Villa currently and are the many issues that lead to Villa's demise on the way to being sorted?
Villa are clearly a team in transition. Last season was an accumulation of the last few seasons of neglect. We have a new owner in the mercurial Dr Xia and who knows if that will sort the issues? We have started to build a new team - some of the players who were culpable are still on the payroll - but Roberto Di Matteo will soon work out who he needs.
TC: Do you think that Roberto Di Matteo can win the fans over as well as giving a deflated squad the confidence to compete in the Championship?
Villa fans are notoriously fickle. I know because I am one of them. Roberto Di Matteo is still in his honeymoon period so will get a chance to win fans over. More importantly, Villa are starting to look like "his" team already. Confidence will soon start swelling back once we win a few games. Signs were there on Saturday against Rotherham.
TC: What constitutes a successful season for Aston Villa this time round? Is it promotion or is it bringing stability to the club?
It would be naive to say anything less than promotion. I think stability will being promotion so the two work hand in hand with each other. No team "deserves" to be in the Premier League as a matter of course. Villa are no different but second tier football for the club is not acceptable to any of our fans.
TC: There have been many comings and goings during transfer window so far at Villa Park. How would you assess the current squad and what is currently lacking?
Our greatest need is a right back. Alan Hutton is not the answer to the problem. James Chester and Tommy Elphick look like they could be solid at the back, Amavi is too good for the Championship but if we keep him then he'll be a massive asset on the left. Ross McCormack was a superb buy for us. Aaron Tshibola was another quality signing and bolsters our midfield.
TC: Which Aston Villa player(s) should Huddersfield fans worry about?
Ross McCormack - he is getting fitter by the day and hasn't scored for us yet.
Jordan Ayew - unbelievable quality at times, difficult to stop when he's in the mood.
Jack Grealish - fabulous crosser of the ball and can run past players with ease - scored on Saturday so should be up for more goals on Tuesday night.
TC: Which Huddersfield player(s) stands out to you?
Aaron Mooy - fabulous player in the A-League and Manchester City clearly agree with that summation.
Danny Ward - good young keeper in good form so far this season.
TC: What is your prediction?
I am going 2-1 Villa - feel that we will take Saturday's victory and keep on moving in the right direction.