Villa need to win ten of their remaining games to have a realistic chance of avoiding relegation. In the whole of 2015 we only won five league games so even I, a renowned optimist, has conceded that we will be playing our football in the Championship next season
I still remember standing at the back of the Holte End (right side of course) towards the end of the 1986/87 season watching Villa lose to Sheffield Wednesday. It was my first relegation – when I started supporting the club we were in the old Third Division. I felt sick, I’d always put relegation to the back of my mind on the basis I didn’t think it would ever happen. I wasn’t prepared for it – which is my point.
This time we know we are going down and we have plenty of time to prepare for it. So players that are out of contract at the end of the season (Kieran Richardson, Charles N’Zogbia etc) need to be moved on in the January window at best or removed from the first team squad for the rest of the season at the very least. They won’t add anything next season so why play them now?
Secondly we need to take a hard look at other contracted players to see if we want them to be playing a role next season. In this category I would include Gabby Agbonlahor, Brad Guzan, Alan Hutton, Joe Bennett, Mark Bunn and Jose Angel Crespo
Most importantly we need to take a look at some of the other fringe players to find out if they have a role to play in the fight back (and this is only picking out a few examples). We have nothing to lose so let’s take a chance on…
- Libor Kozak – better for me than Rudy Gestede (which isn’t hard) but it’s a long time since he has had a run of first team games
- Adama Traore – for me, needs to get a consecutive run of games to show whether or not he is the one trick pony I suspect. If he isn’t a team player he will be no good in the Championship
- Philippe Senderos – is he really no better that what we’ve got in the centre of defence?
- Gary Gardner – has played in the Championship before, if he’s fit (IF) give him a run of games to get some more match practice
- Jed Steer – if we keep loaning him out is it because he’s no better than Guzan?
- Carlos Gil – lacks pace, but fantastic talent. Try building the midfield around him and letting him be the creator in the team
We have eighteen games to play, let’s use them wisely and plan for next year’s campaign so come August we start on the front foot.