By Joe Hewlett
Steve Bruce’s fairy-tale start at Aston Villa has seen the club rack up a third win in five games, the most recent against Blackburn Rovers.
Bruce is the fifth man to take over the helm at Villa Park in just three years after the club was humiliatingly relegated last season.
Roberto Di Matteo’s tenure lasted 124 days after a somewhat underwhelming performance that included an embarrassing defeat of the hands of Luton Town.
However after enduring dark times, there is a sense of optimism around Villa Park with the fans saluting Bruce on his instant impact at the club. The appointment of Bruce has been a contributing factor in a resurgence of confidence which has been restored the Villa changing rooms too.
Midfielder Gary Gardner in particular has been inspired, telling the club’s website: “We feel confident on the pitch, it feels like we can’t lose.”
It has been a successful start in terms of results for Bruce with the Villains unbeaten in all five outings. Former Villa striker, Andy Gray told TalkSPORT that he still believes the side can reach the play-offs. He said: “There’s still an opportunity for Villa to get into the top six, and if they do that then who would bet against Brucey taking them to another promotion via the play-offs?”
The most obvious joy was ending a 412-day wait to win a game away with fans expressing their joy through social media.
The Villa boss has never been full of compliments for his style of football but his record suggests otherwise. He has clinched promotion to the Premier League on four separate occasions, most recently guiding Hull City to victory in last year’s play-off final.
Sunderland, Birmingham City and Wigan are just a few teams Bruce has managed, but the 53-year old told Sky Sports that Villa is his ”biggest job yet”.
Since the departure of Martin O’Neil, the club has been sliding down the league table year by year for the last seven years. In the summer, Chinese businessman Tony Xia took over after completing a £60 million deal.
The owner isn’t afraid to voice his opinion neither, with frequent tweets assessing the performance of the team and coach.
With an owner who expects promotion in the next two years, Bruce knows what he has to do if he is to remain in the Villa Park hot seat.