Negotiating tactic, statement of intent, or both? The big talk for Villa late in the week was that now apparently no one’s for sale. We haven’t heard it first hand, but if Sawiris and Edens are aiming for promotion as we’ve read, then hanging on to the majority of the side, and especially your two best players, makes sense.

Then, of course, there was the surprising tidbit that Villa had been under a transfer embargo. Which, in retrospect shouldn’t all that surprising. Since we couldn’t afford anyone anyway, doesn’t seem to have done much damage. With that apparently lifted, we’ll see loan deals like Ben Woodbury and even a return for Robert Snodgrass being talked about realistically now.

Not sure how I feel about Snodgrass coming back. Loved his attitude and commitment, got frustrated with him at times, but, again, it’s more about Bruce’s flexibility and tendency to rely on players he knows. Which is what makes supporters worried about his ability to the tap into the talent already at the club. I’ll get to Elmohamady and Taylor in a moment.

Speaking of talent, as I was watching the Dresden warm-up, I was suddenly overcome by feelings of selfishness in wanting Grealish to stay. Bottom line, if he wants a move I don’t blame him and I hope the club would sanction it. Naturally the sticking point is the gulf in Spurs’ “valuation” versus Villa’s.

Anyway, just under two weeks to go in the window, and we’ll see how this plays out. Not really sure what the FFP game is, but whether it’s taking the fine, keeping hold til January and seeing where we’re at…There’s been a rather different tenor since the takeover, and it’s refreshing. I’m going to assume for now that it is indeed reality-based. Jorge Mendes’ role in Wolves’ success seems to have perhaps caught the attention of NSWE as evidenced by Andre Moreira. If so, I’ll applaud some more creative approaches to getting players in.

Hypocritical on Villa’s part? Well, there are new sheriffs in town, and I doubt they’ll care.

This of course raises the sort-of-forgotten issue of how Villa proceed without Round in terms of scouting and transfer targets. Given the embargo, financial uncertainty, NSWE’s sudden appearance, and the looming transfer deadline, can’t say there’s been much time to do anything more than run the numbers, stick with Bruce, accept financial reality, and largely go with what you’ve got. Which is to say, not really the time to be worrying about that side of the business. It can wait a couple of weeks. Still, will need addressing at some point.

As far as the Dynamo Dresden run-out, all the usual caveats apply. So, just some thoughts.

• For his part, Andre Green looked lively and confident. He cut a rather isolated figure when he took Albert’s spot in the middle for the second half start, but then suddenly was found trailing behind the front line and curls in a lovely strike. Moments later, he finished off Hutton’s great run and cross. Good return on the day, obviously. Had almost forgotten how much promise he has.

• Wingbacks. Would rather see Hutton as a wingback than one of the three in the middle. If we’re playing wingbacks, I’d be looking at Hutton on the left and De Laet on the right. Hutton has speed, energy, and can sort of play in space, so he makes the back three quicker and more mobile than Elphick would. Still, iff we’re doing loan deals, a CB wouldn’t be a bad shout.

• Wingbacks II: Not impressed with either Elmohamady or Taylor on the day. De Laet really should be in front of both. Of course, bringing De Laet on as more of a left winger seemed a bit strange. If Hutton is going to be central, and De Laet isn’t going to be on the right, it’s time to start letting Bree develop. He’s shown he needs time to grow into games, but he’s barely played since arriving. Basically, I think Elmo and Taylor are surplus to requirements and holding back other players with more upside.

• Will we even actually play a 3-5-2 or 3-5-1-1 once the season starts? Be rather odd to spend preseason working on it if we don’t, but since the players know each other so well, would be rather easy to slot back into four at the back.

• As you know well enough by now, of our current squad, I would always have Grealish, Bjarnason and Hourihane in the middle. Whelan will always give his all, and reads the game well. Just a question of pace and range. But he didn’t do badly on the day. Me, I’d have run out as much of my starting XI as were available for the last preseason match, then made changes. If Whelan is slated to start ahead of either Bjarnason or Hourihane…Well, just can’t agree with that.

So, a week away from the opener, and still a lot of things in play. Might well be a very familiar side we see at Hull Monday night. We’ll take a look at that in more depth over the week, but right now, I’m not feeling bad about the season since NSWE took over. I’m okay with the decision to stick with Bruce in the short term, at least. But as I’ve pointed out, I’m hoping he doesn’t continue to be overly cautious. Which, if he feels like he’s under threat, he may well be.

The team seems rather obvious to me, minus a couple question marks about who ends up where. I’m guessing I’m not seeing it quite the way Bruce is. Last season showed it’s crucial that Villa get off to a fast start and be in the race at the top from the outset. And with our striker shortage, I’ll bet Bruce will somewhat understandably be looking to just grind out some results until he has more options up top.

Over to you.

Comments 77

  1. JC
    Thanks for the article.
    Bruce’s selections in the preseason have already confused me, & the similarity to what went on last season is depressing.

  2. Very good assessment JC of where we’re at right now. I don’t think SB can afford to be overly cautious any more and I think he knows it. That’s why he’s been trialing 3-5-2. He’ll be duck soup if he manages 7 points from the first 7 games like he did last season. Using his rule of thumb of averaging 2 points per game he’ll need to double the points tally from the opening 7 games.

    Doyle-Hayes did well against West Ham. I’d have him in the squad or even starting against Hull. Same goes for Green, Hourihane and the viking. De Laet and Cafu as wing backs sounds useful. And like you I’m beginning to think that Taylor and Elmo are surplus to requirements or are at least obstructing the progress of our youth players.

    It’s the back 3 that bothers me. Development progress still needed there.

  3. Plug
    He can’t afford to be over cautious, & the proof will be on the 6th.
    There doesn’t seem to be much indication of Bruce changing the habits of a managerial lifetime.
    I hope so, but apart from the back 3, which looked very suspect, I can’t see how he learned much about many of the players [played in wrong positions etc]

  4. ‘ Of course, bringing De Laet on as more of a left winger seemed a bit strange’

    If it was an attacking manager, I would say that De Laet playing on the left would be to switch him and Hutton during the game to confuse defenses. But its SB and not Pep, so its probably just for the pre season game.

  5. If there’s any truth to the Ben Woodburn/Snodgrass rumors then he may have shelved the 352 idea.

    It’ll probably reduce Green’s game time too which ain’t great!

  6. Thanks John – interesting post.
    Now that the southern-hemisphere Super Rugby reaches its conclusion on Saturday and the Tour has finished in a pleasant manner it might mean that I have the urge to try and kindle some enthusiasm for the new Championship season.
    Some enthusiasm from the playing staff would be a good start and the absence of one or two ‘regulars’ from last season gives some incentives to the youth in the squad, especially as the likelihood of new blood arriving is minimal.
    Couple that with a bit of dynamism from SB in terms of getting the tactics right for the game as opposed to turning out the same team regardless of the opposition.
    As Plug says we need at least 15 pts from the first 7 games and that means having a strong defence !!!
    UTV

  7. Villalore,

    Indeed…couldn’t tell whether there was any purpose to it beyond just about getting him on the pitch. You’d like to think there was a reason. Just not where I’ve ever seen him deployed. And to be fair, he went out and got on with it. Toward the end he tracked back hard, showing good speed to shut down a player that Taylor was trying to contain. Got right into him, no hesitation. Then he was up looking to get balls into the box.

  8. IanG,

    Yeah, I try not to read too much into things in preseason. Like all the kids we saw last year that just disappeared. I don’t have any players on the squad I don’t “like,” but the holdover players…I mean, I get it, but I just think last season taught us we needed to get a bit younger and faster.

  9. I still cant believe our turn around in fortunes. Its a bloody miracle. Just got to see out the window and if we keep jack, kodjer, chester ill be amazed by it all.

    Sounds like bruce not having a say in transfers? 2 coming in today apparently.

  10. Plug,

    He seemed to want to try 3-5-2 last year, and now he’s been back at it. Like you, I guess I’m just wondering whether we have the players for it. Chester, no problem. Jedi…probably can make it work, though I worry about him getting pulled wide. Hutton, he’ll do whatever you ask him to and never lacks for commitment.

    But I don’t think Elmo or Taylor offer the requisite threat going forward, and aren’t lockdown defenders in a 4-4-2. De Laet and Hutton seem to have the drive and energy to push up and also get back. It’s a tough position to fill.

  11. JC
    I’ll be surprised if De Laet isn’t replaced by Elmo for the game on 6th.
    Habits are habits, but I’ll be pleasantly surprised if I’m wrong.

  12. Gareth,

    I’m wondering if Snoddy simply means less of Adomah, rather than Green. It’s a very Steve Bruce move, so I’m thinking there’s some truth to it. I can see being a bit careful with Green, bringing him back slowly.

    Woodburn, well, looking at what we’ve got up front. Hogan’s been crocked, RMC has no way back, and Kodjia is going to need more time. He’s trying to come back from a lot, and I remain to be convinced he’ll ever be the player he was again. RHM is young and injured (and keeps getting injured), Davis young and injured for a while now, and Knibbs…we know he won’t be making the bench if RHM can’t, when healthy.

  13. Andrew,

    Good to see you. It was a miraculous turnabout, no doubt. Put new life into the season…But it’s a tricky one for Bruce to pull off. I don’t think more of the same, but with Jack for a full season, (hopefully), is quite going to do it.

  14. Hi, Clive.

    Yep, need to get off to a flyer. Regardless of his habits (which I have been moaning about), once again Bruce is finding his options limited in terms of strikers.

    On the defensive side…I’d think Chester and Jedinak will be fine in a back four. I don’t mind trying a three if we have the players for it, but if Bruce is going to stick with Elmo and Taylor, I dunno. And likewise, Whelan. Nothing bad to say about the man, I just can’t see how we get faster with him in the middle of the park, especially in closing down, winning the ball back, and covering counters. Hourihane doesn’t do anything wrong more often than Whelan and will score. Bjarnason has twice the energy and range, and can carry the ball.

    For whatever reason, Jack, Conor, and Birkir just work together, and Birkir gives you more in front of the back line.

  15. John – I agree – Jedinak is better at the back as he is too slow in midfield as is Whelan; I class them along with Samba as utility players using the looser definition of utility as it applied to wartime furniture!
    Definitely Conor, Jack and Birkir who played very well on the left of midfield during his country’s exploits in Russia.
    The problem is who is going to score the goals as well as who is going to stop them

  16. Suggestion in the press is that Woodburn will play midfield, and can be used in JG’s role, which then gives more scope to Bruce’s 3-5-2. This would also allow JG to play up front if necessary. Klupp is keen to get him plenty of game time, and feels that this will happen at Villa, and could be an improvement on Onamah. Maybe JG could end up moving to the Bindippers in January….rather than going to Spurs.

    Very good article JC, and like most here, I am in full agreement with your thoughts. Maybe Bruce feels safer starting the first few games with Elmo, Whelan and Taylor, but hopefully will keep them for the bench, and let De Laet, Bjarnason and Hutton be in front of them. I agree that Bree also needs to get game time, and hopefully Elphick and Chester will become a strong partnership, with the Jedi making up the third place, if it is to be a back three, with Bree as cover for them. Mitch Clark must also come close to having a run out to build his experience as the season wears on, along with Doyle-Hayes.

  17. Cheers, Paul.

    You know, might be the case that Bree should be the third on the back line, now that I think about it. Obviously going to be a bit risky to start off. Maybe you try Elphick out first. Would need to look up Bree’s height, but I’m thinking that wouldn’t be a very big back line; offset is that Bree adds more speed and mobility than Elphick.

    With Woodburn in MF, maybe it lets us move on Lansbury, maybe he comes in for Hourihane. Will be interesting. Lots of midfielders. Maybe Woodburn allows us to cash in on Jack, but then of course, if we do go up we’d be looking to spend some money to find a 10.

  18. Clive…

    We are definitely short up top, which I guess is why Bruce was looking at Adomah and Green in the middle.

    If Snoddy does come back, Adomah goes left, Green sticks up top as a makeshift striker. Maybe it’s a 3-5-1-1 with him and Grealish and/or Woodburn, depending on how things turn out.

    I think I’m a little less worried about shipping goals than scoring them, at the moment. I might very well eat these words, but Jedi might end up being a more effective CB than Terry, just for the fact that Terry was showing his age in terms of pace. But of course with any of our options, besides Elphick, we’re not very tall at the back. And then no matter what, not terribly imposing physically.

  19. Likewise, Andrew.

    Doing well, thanks, nice and busy in a new position (the owner of the previous company I worked for was a complete nightmare). And then with the turnaround in Villa’s fortunes, I’m a pretty pleasant person to be around these days! (imho). 🙂

  20. Thanks JC- I think there is more chance of Bruce not being on the sideline than Wheelan not playing DM. Correct me if I’m wrong but started in every Friendly and Thor has had a limited pre-season, Bruce won’t need any more excuse than that.

    Pretty much resined to the team being all our oldest players + Green maybe. Thats unless Snodgrass resigns then he’s a shoe-in.

    Would like to have seen how the new keeper shapes up but I guess he’s learning English.

  21. JC
    Thanks for writing again.
    Like Clive, now that the rugby is coming to an end, I look forward to Villa’s new campaign. We’ve learn’t there are no givens in the Championship, so it’s about sitting back and trying to enjoy the ride. I was gonna say simply enjoying the ride, but nothing seems simple with Villa.
    Good to read all the comments on here.

  22. Well, we missed out on Woodburn, so now our targets are all ex -Bruce men.

    In the loan market, we are looking at Snodgrass and Hugill from Wet Spam, and a possible signing of Nick Powell from Wigan. One may ask the question, “are these payers better than what we already have?”.

    Surely Bjarnason, Doyle-Hayes, and when fit, O’Hare are as good as Powell, and we have a rake of forwards as good as Hugill.

  23. PP, I couldn’t agree more. None of those targeted players you’ve mentioned are an improvement on our existing players. Just throwing money for money’s sake.

    If Mendes comes up with a couple of young, speedy centre backs to loan I’d be much more excited.

  24. Paul,

    The old transfer merry-go-round…None of those links are exciting. Not that I was necessarily expecting excitement. Hard to believe how much money we’ve got wrapped up in Kodjia, Hogan, and RMC and still have nothing dependable up front to show for it.

  25. My fear is now that we will pod along with Bruce and his usual team of owd codgers, getting very average results, and meanwhile Thierry Henri will become manager somewhere and show that he is more than capable of being a first class manager.
    Certainly, there is nothing to date to suggest that we are going to set the world on fire from the start of the season.

  26. Paul,

    Indeed. Totally get the stability argument, but really hoping SB doesn’t shoot himself in the foot the way we fear. One would hope the veterans are motivated by the near-miss, but just not sure whether we’re going to be as dynamic as we could be, and have we missed the opportunity to integrate new faces during the summer (brief as it was).

  27. JC- After Thors dumping last season I’m not holding my Breath.

    PP- Wheelans older brothers available on a free transfer from the nursing home, No hang on we have to pay the taxi fair, oh and 24 hour nursing.

    Keep seeing Tammy abrahams, that would be a decent shout, mind you Tammy wynette has probably scored more times than our strikers lately,
    Her two best songs are “stand by your Man” (for now) and D-I-V-O-R-C-E.

  28. Yep MK,

    More disasters suggested for Villa. Abrahams is ok, but on £50,000 a week, so does not need to do much….

    Would prefer Tammy Cline….

    Does not look promising for any of Bruce’s wants for players coming in… Powell definitely not keen, and Hugill has a lot of interest elsewhere, and Snoddy may feel he has a chance to shine with Pellegrini. This looks more and more like our final season in the Premiership where no-one came in, and no-one we wanted out left…

    I think we may be stuck with what we have until the January window, by which time Henri may have finally become Villa’s manager rather than that of the Egyptian team..(surprise, surprise…nothing to do with Sawiri’s influence..??).

  29. Apparently we played stoke behind close doors and drew

    the starting 11 v Stoke
    steer, elmohamady, hutton, chester, jedinak, hourihane, green, bjarnason, taylor, adomah, kodjia

  30. Just an update on that Quest Channel. EFL highlights was originally shown as being screened on Quest+1 Freeview on my TV schedule internet site.
    Now it is shown as being on Quest both on there and in Radio Times – 2100 hours Saturday. Of course Villa will be on Sky Football and Main Event on Monday night.

    Let’s hope we don’t tank it – in tank vernacular tank down

  31. First signing completed of Andre Moreira on loan for a season, looks like he could be a good move.

    Eight days left now to move a few out, and maybe one or two more in….

  32. DOR- 0-0 I believe

    PP- looking at the players we are linked to I would be amazed if he stays there is no way of funding it in our predicament without risking big Fines etc. If we get close to the £30m mark ? tempting.

  33. Spud also said we were 1 game away from the premiership. Perhaps…….but in my book we failed by 8 points. In his book we failed by 9 points because his target was 2 points per game average. Couldn’t be anything to do with defensive set ups throughout the season or persevering with ageing legs?

    He also said he’s still with us because of the challenge. Come on Steve, nothing to do with the million/annum salary?

    PP, if Jack leaves then the first statement of intent made by the new owners is a plain lie.

  34. See Bruce is now blaming the ref for us losing the play-offs, because he didn’t send Ryan Fredericks off….!!!!

    Got to be pretty sad if he is letting that stick in his craw…..Should never let things fester…just get on with the job in hand…!!

    See we have made a ridiculous offer of £10million for a Barcelona player worth at least double that if not more..!!

  35. PP- I saw that and while I was reading it I thought about all the different stages with Bruce here. First stage was the teams not tough enough for the Champs, not physical enough and also not enough goals from midfield and no strikers due to The Africas cup. After his first transfer window we couldn’t defend for toffee, even with players that had been in the champs for years. We also couldn’t score for the rest of the season bar Kodjia. The reason why? Villa is to big a club for them 🙂

    So next up we had the dressing room was toxic so we needed experience, some with a small amount of champs games some with none. That started out as cr*p too and was blamed on the absence of Grealish (the biggest wimp in the Champs) Kodjia ( the greediest player in the champs) and Jedinak our only player that can head a ball for toffee.

    We sort of recovered and bumbled along hoofing and crossing like Billy-oh to Davis while Albert filled his boots. Then Agnew turned up after another dip in form the bring “something a little different” and lo we discovered we could pass, after a golden era and run with Bruces ego inflating (talking about the business end of the season like he knew what he was doing and aiming digs at his critics) we promptly went down the pan when Grealish and Kodjia were injured. Cue return to hoofing for the rest of the season and limping into the play offs instead of 2nd which we had within our grasp.

    Then on to the final where surprise we were out played and Bullied by Fulham the most footballing non fouling side in the League! what happened to the toughening up? I mean we all know what happened to the passing but Fulham kicked us off the park. To make it worse we outplayed them when we decided to play.

    What I find annoying is this rubbish we have to build a team for each problem? why the s**te don’t we build one that plays football so well they win a lot?

  36. JG- just once I’d like to hear “we just haven’t been good enough” not the winds in the wrong direction, terrys got Gout, yadda yadda yadda………

    am I asking to much ? 🙂

  37. MK,

    I think the trick is balancing the clearly true “we just haven’t been good enough” with contributing factors. I mean, you can’t be good enough if you get relegated, you can’t be good enough if you can’t get promoted.

    I think everyone can agree about that.

    What we have is a series of errors, some forced and otherwise, stemming from Lerner’s naivete combined with MON’s profligacy. Basically, the two of them managed to create circumstances that in one way or another have led to everything since.

    (Maybe I’ve thought of something to write about besides Grealish, Hull, and will he really be allowed to go this close to the end of the window without a replacement.)

    Neither a brilliant nor original insight, but it’s been a long road. My hope is that we now have deep enough pockets and the sports business knowledge necessary to let us fix things the right way, whether or not we go up this year.

  38. Have just noted that the window closes next Thursday for permanent moves, but maybe we are relying on loans, which we can do until the end of August. Perhaps the plan of the new board is flog JG, comply with FFP, maybe buy one or two players at the most, if the right ones are willing to come, but the safest is to have a handful of loan players in until they see how Bruce and his team shape up this season.

    I see Thierry Henri denies having talks with anyone, and is quite happy to wait for the right opportunity to come along.

  39. PP,

    I’ll be surprised if the new owners give Spud any money to spend. They may well permit him a few more loans though between now and end of Aug. All eyes are on what they do with Jack.

  40. judging by the guys who ive been following for years on twitter and seem to know things it comes across as bruce is on borrowed time. Only a matter of time before a young foreign coach is installed.

    The signings will be loans I think with a view to permanent deal.

  41. Andrew,

    Those feelings would be in accord with my own, and that the new owners have decided to get the fans on board first, by backing Bruce initially, but not financing the madness of Xia, I am very certain that Bruce has a maximum of 12 games to prove himself, and if Villa are not in the top 4, then he will be gone.

    This is also why they are not prepared to buy or sell players before the January window, with the exception of JG, who will go if the “Price is Right!”.

  42. Hi John

    Very good article with for or against Bruce responses fairly predictable

    We all know he’s old school but until a decent candidate is found then best to leave well alone & Aston Villa may well be too big a Club for some names in the frame such as Dean Smith. I too think his days are numbered because he won’t be able to change his spots & Calderwood & Clemence are hardly his opposites are they. Agnew may remain when the axe falls

    Its odd that Henry says he knew nowt about taking over at Villa then turns up as Egypt boss – maybe a temporary situation awaiting forthcoming events in B6 or just coincidence ?

    However I strongly disagree with your observation that Martin O’Neil is somehow still to blame – The Lerner part I agree with but would swop Naive to IDIOT.

    MON walked out in Aug 2010 on principle because Milner was being sold & we were getting Steve Ireland in part Ex + funds. We’d finished 6th for 3 seasons in succession & he wanted to kick on. Yes like all manager’s all the players he bought did not work out but he was the best manager we’d had since Ron Saunders ( who also walked out on principle )

    None of MON’s signings come anywhere near the waste of money that are: McCormack, Richards, Tsibola, Whelan, Lansbury + the ones we’ve already got rid of at massive losses

    Since then Tony Xia, a fantasist, seeking to bolster his name in Asia on the back of Villa being on a par with Real Madrid within 5 -10 years. You don’t start a reign with cr*p like that. He appoints De Matteo because it looked as though he ticked all the boxes but if he’d investigated further at W B A he’d have found out he was a lazy, aloof S of a B

    He also employed a young kid because he was Asian & a Villa fan to boot, his football knowledge & experience obviously not being part of the interview process. Then he gambled our entire existence on getting promoted last season but fair due he has now done the decent thing & found on paper at least a couple of proper businessmen who will I am sure take us back where we belong, sooner rather than later. My bet is within 2 seasons

    And we’re far more positive now than a couple of weeks ago

    Keep up the good work

    Regards to all fellow Villans

  43. Johnie M- Mon had an equally expensive b team on high wages, that was the problem as it is now. Most teams have a balance of cheaply paid youth and 5-6 top earners we have never got this right imo.

    My worry is if we are embarking on a rebuild then Bruce is not your man, if he’s given loan players to what purpose? I hear we have another keeper and the young ones for the future on loan??? you would assume he’s getting loans as he fears the teams not strong enough, strong enough for what ? promotion? if we are starting again do it properly and don’t stifle what talent we have with loads of loans.

  44. Hi, Johnie M.

    Cheers, good to see you. Understand where you’re coming from on MON. His tenure will divide opinion moreso than Bruce’s, I think.

    We’ve talked a lot about not “holding on” to our best players, but in reality I think it’s less a matter of choice than the simple fact that when the big boys come calling, we don’t have much alternative to offer the player. They’re already at the top, Villa always trying to get there, players want to win things and play on the best team possible.

    Barry gave us an extra year. Milner was always going to go. They know behind the scenes, like Jedinak was talking about before the final, whether the club can really get over the hump, what the issues are. Same with Ash, Delph. Benteke, too, I guess. You can gamble with “maybe,” or go with certainty.

    Anyway, my gut feeling on the silence on Jack’s part so far means that he’s probably willing to stay (at least until January) if he feels like the price Spurs are offering wouldn’t help the club. Don’t think he’ll put in a request, especially at this late date. Could be wrong, but really would reflect very highly on him if true.

  45. MK,

    I think, as others suggested a couple comments up, that Bruce is really in limbo. He’s needed to provide stability given the timing of the takeover and all the uncertainty regarding the squad. (Which uncertainty seems to have largely been settled, bar Jack.)

    But…I agree, I don’t think he’ll be around long if Villa hold onto Jack and don’t get off to a good start. The idea, I’m thinking, is that NSWE want to see whether promotion is on.

    If it is, then they’ll go with it, and retool the team from a position of greater income strength. If not, then Bruce goes, Jack goes in January, and the rebuild begins, possibly with an eye toward challenging for the next year.

    I’ll save the loans bit for later…

  46. The logic defies belief…

    We allow a fantastic young goalkeeper to leave, 19yr old Johanson, who has a great future, now with a Premier league club, Leicester. Meanwhile, our next signing will be a 27yr old Norwegian goalkeeper from Germany…..

  47. Hi Mark

    Yea agree & neither manager likes promoting youth but where both guys like strong defences MON’s team had far more flair & freedom going forward. Not sure our youths are that great – look at Gary Gardner or we let em go – Marc Albrighton

    Brucey is a decent bloke with a similar style to Warnock except the latter buys the exact players he wants to play his style of football which is why they finished above us. Bruce’s fault entirely

    SB imposes his game on whoever he buys/plays ( like Mourinho) regardless of their strengths or weaknesses – and it often looks as though they don’t train together. He can’t get a tune out of Hogan & McCormack because his style ( or lack of it ) just doesn’t suit them

    Funds could still be a factor for buying players instead of loans but I’m optimistic if we keep Grealish we could still go up this season, whoever’s manager come play off time

  48. Johnie M – couldn’t agree more mate. However I don’t think we have a great record at bringing youth through. We gave Robinson and Bennett for free and we expect youth players to be saviours not part of a team I feel. Gardner could well surprise if played in a more advanced role he’s no DM.

  49. Either Spud has got a death wish or somebody else is pulling the transfer strings. Given our current situation, I would have said the last thing we need is 2 extra keepers when we already have 3. Why sign Moreira if you intend to sign Nyland.

    I would also have thought our most urgent need was a pace injection at the back and a striker as we have so many injured. But the striker requirement is contentious because he still has Codger and RMC available.

    Trying to read between the lines at what’s happening at VP is like figuring out the winning 6 numbers on the lottery.

  50. Steve Bruce

    “We’ve still got the chance to go to the end of August.

    “In an ideal world, I’d love to have five or six going to bat on Monday at Hull.

    “If I’m being brutally honest, that’s not the case.

    “However, we’ve got things on the go at the moment, and hopefully we can get two or three over the line and we’re still working with the barrier of August 31 because we can use the loan market until then.

    “As for John, that won’t be happening. The owners want young, aggressive, hungry players with things to prove. That’s their vision.”

    We are definitely going for promotion again in my eyes., how Bruce fits into the owners young, aggressive, hungry line I don’t know but there it is.

    Why he feels our team is so poor he would like 5-6 to to choose from against hull I will never know, he is definitely a kid in a sweet shop with players.

    Feel a little sorry for Steer, him and Bunn should be sold now, If this Norwegian lad is a really strong keeper and hopefully better than Johnson then he will be a step up for us and something we haven’t had for many a year so happy with that. As for who he’s after otherwise? well we know they won’t be pensioners. I think 1-2 strikers a CH a LB and of course another midfielder/winger.

  51. mark
    a leopard never changes his spots like bruce
    https://disq.us/url?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Ffootball%2Fblog%2F2011%2Fnov%2F30%2Fsteve-bruce-sunderland-sacked%3Aiy3tUCVBMKVrO2T77wyrUDqei_M&cuid=192428
    we need a 1st choice keeper,cover at centre half and left back and somone to make most of our squad who have all previously[before bruce got them] played well at this level
    delaet suspended for 1st two matches so my team for tomorrow night
    keeper
    bree hutton chester elphik
    birr houirane grealish
    green kodja albert

  52. JG- hello mate yes I read that years ago pretty damning and you can see certain traits coming through with us for sure.

    Looks a useful side wonder who the keeper will be ? I hope Kodjia can rekindle his spark but don’t hold out much hope really, I would plonk Gardner in there if he struggles.

    Kenyon would be a good catch for us very good news

  53. JG,

    An excellent article confirming the real Steve Bruce…

    Hope you boys are right about Kenyon.

    What Bruce would really like is a goalkeeper capable of filling the whole six yard area, so that we cannot concede…..maybe a back four of goalkeepers…to confuse the ref and the opposition…

  54. Brilliant display by Leeds in showing Stoke how good the Championship is. Impressed with work rate and their passing accuracy, etc. Roofe, Saiz and Hernandez all looking good, with Bamford on the bench. It takes 37yr old Peter Crouch to liven Stoke up…!!!

  55. Spud has been talking to Sky Gambling. Quote:

    “If I was a Villa fan, I would be absolutely delighted at what’s just taken place because the new guys [who have] come in are serious about their work, they have been hugely successful in what they do and I am sure they would want the club to be that way too.”

    Well Steve, I am a Villa fan and I am excited by our new owners. But I’d be a lot more excited if the rebuild was being carried out in an attacking and youthful manner. I’ll be watching tonight and will despair if we set up defensively.

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