Bruce keen to avoid a repeat of blip which ruined Villa
STEVE Bruce reckons consistency over the course of the season is the key to promotion. Villa have given themselves a solid platform to build on but the boss insists there’s plenty more to come.
Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Preston, Bruce has called on his troops to step it up after failing to see off the last two teams away from home.
But while he wants to see more, he is also satisfied with the way the first three months of the season have panned out.
Villa’s downfall last season was their inconsistency. A dreadful start under Roberto Di Matteo, followed by an equally disappointing period at the turn of the year under Bruce, effectively ended any promotion hopes.
Asked whether it was a case of cutting out those periods this term, Bruce said: “You hope so, but it’s the Championship, remember.
“It’s inevitable that all teams have (a blip). You don’t want the blip at the crucial time. What’s important is how you get out of them.
“We’ll have to do it quicker than last year because if we don’t I know what the consequences will be.
“We hope we can find a consistency. We’ve certainly responded well this season and we know we can only get better.”
Villa have responded well to defeats this season by recovering in the following games.
They are now on a decent run of just one defeat in 11 games, even though Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Blues wasn’t the outcome they had hoped for.
“It’s just typical of the Championship,” added Bruce.
“We saw a few coupon-busters last weekend with Wolves losing at QPR and Bristol City winning at Sunderland, a relegated team last year. That’s what the Championship is all about.”
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick is happy to stay at Old Trafford despite interest from Aston Villa.
That’s according to the latest reports from ESPN who suggest that sources close to the player have informed them that Carrick wants to stay at United until the end of his contract in the summer.
The 36-year-old is yet to play a minute of Premier League football under Jose Mourinho this season, having only played once in the Carabao Cup.
And Villa have reportedly been joined by West Brom and Leicester City in the market for the ex-England international. However, it looks like they will be left disappointed with reports that Jose Mourinho wants to keep Carrick at the club as he helps out coaching the under-14s side.
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy is still battling his way back to full fitness after struggling to overcome injury problems that have haunted him for over a year.
The teenage striker is now nursing a knee injury sustained in his comeback from a previous hamstring problem and is at least a month away from returning to full training.
Hepburn-Murphy has just started light running drills and is being carefully monitored at Bodymoor Heath after a series of setbacks.
But he’s quickly becoming Villa’s forgotten man as the likes of Keinan Davis and Callum O’Hare have progressed into the first-team during his lengthy absence.
“It’s a big disappointment because I’ve been here for a year and I’ve only seen him play a couple of times,” said Bruce.
“His problems are ongoing and it’s a concern because he keeps breaking down.”