All eyes will be on the players as caretaker Kevin MacDonald takes up the unenviable task of leading Aston Villa down to Millwall for the club’s first game without Steve Bruce at the helm. Stepping into a mess is not an unfamiliar spot for stalwart MacDonald, who has had seven games in charge over the years, leading Villa to a 2-2-3 record in those outings.
The Steve Bruce era at Aston Villa came to an abrupt if not surprising end after 102 games, and just as it was for Roberto Di Matteo, Preston North End was Bruce’s ostensible undoing. For the record, I don’t condone the throwing of vegetables. Unless it’s a festival-related activity like pie-eating contests.
Depending on reports, Steve Bruce might well be living on borrowed time, making tonight’s match with cellar-dwellers Preston North End sort of a must-win just 11 games into the campaign. Seemingly, key milestones determining just how much time he has are the imminent appointment of a director of football and the October international break. That’s what the papers are saying, anyway.
The game against Bristol City tonight will probably be rather influential in determining Bruce’s fate. Should he get one of those bounce-back performances we often saw last year, he’ll likely be safe until Preston North End on Tuesday, where the team will have to produce again. Villa’s recent run of form—one win, two draws and two losses in the last five, and three wins in nine—just isn’t going to get it done.
Following Tuesday’s return to winning ways, Villa will look to make it two in a row as they host a Sheffield Wednesday side missing several players, including Fernando Forestieri.