Villa's character gives Steve Bruce boost ahead of Sunderland showdown

Aston Villa had to show great resolve to hit back for victory at Sheffield Wednesday in their last Championship game, 10 days ago.

Monday, 5th March 2018, 8:45 am
Lewis Grabban hits Sunderland's goal against Aston Villa in November. He will line up for Villa in tomorrow's rematch. Picture by Frank Reid

And boss Steve Bruce wants more of the same, starting at former club Sunderland tomorrow. “After not the best of starts at the beginning of the season, we’ve been pretty consistent,” said Bruce, whose men came from 1-0 and 2-1 down to win with three goals in the final 23 minutes.

“One thing you need to be able to do in this division is roll your sleeves up and have a go.

“And the one thing we’ve tried to repair here is the supporters connecting with the team.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“We’ve seen an association between the team and its supporters of late – the Sheffield United game comes to mind, too. It can only be a good thing. They’re starting to enjoy their team again. That’s important. Results like (Sheffield Wednesday) can only help.”

The absence of Albert Adomah and Jack Grealish that day saw Villa change formation. Bruce reflected: “We took a bit more of a risk in order to install greater penetration.

“Unfortunately it left us open at times – a little bit too open. Thankfully we tightened up in the second half and got better with the system we played. To score four goals away against Sheffield Wednesday – I was delighted.

“We weren’t always comfortable but we got three late goals. Better late than never.

“From the senior pros to the inexperienced players and loan signings – we’ve got a really good group here.

“They’re now getting the consistency and reaching a certain standard, which is important.”