Manager Steve Bruce has said that December is the biggest month of the season and Aston Villa kick it off with Leeds United on Friday evening.
Meeting with the media ahead of the game for his obligated pre game press conference, Bruce knew it was vital for our promotion hopes that we remained extremely well in the mix come the New Year.
The matches set for December in many ways will likely make or break 2017/18 and he told the Official Site.
‘It’s fair to say it’s the biggest month of the season – absolutely with the games we’ve got coming up. I’ve said it before, we’re barking mad in this country. But it is what it is. The rest of Europe will be having a break and we’ve got six games in a very short period of time. There’s no more difficult start to December than Leeds United away, either. It’s a big crowd, a big atmosphere and live on the TV. It’s all to play for.’
With another blow for Mile Jedinak, Bruce went on to talk about our depth.
‘Everyone knows we’ve been dealt a cruel blow in respect of injuries. We started with Jack Grealish and Jonathan Kodjia, then Henri Lansbury is only just ready to play again if we’re being truthful. Add to that John Terry’s injury and Mile Jedinak’s last week, and it’s been tough. A real blow to us. It’s the spine of the team. We don’t need any more injuries and our big task is to try and sustain the form. We’ve managed to cope so far, which is great testament to the players we’ve got. Fair play to them.’
Reflecting on the recent run of results and players coming in and doing a job, he added.
‘They’ve played very, very well and have contributed to our good run. I feel it’s wrong to single out individuals because it’s a team game. We’ve coped very well and gotten to where we want to be. We’re into a big month of December as of tomorrow and it’s all to play for again.’
As for Leeds more specifically, he knew the game was massive and he was expecting a tough one.
‘Aston Villa against Leeds United would grace any league. There’s big support, big history and big tradition at both clubs. It’s bound to be a hostile atmosphere, too. It’s a really great game to be involved in. They’ve got a very decent team, especially at the top end of the pitch – they’re lively. One thing we’ll have to do is defend well. We’ve been more than decent lately, so let’s hope that continues.’
There might also be a psychological end to playing on Friday evening instead of the weekend when it comes to our fellow Championship promotion hopefuls, but the three points are more important than any mind games.
‘I haven’t really looked closely at the points and the positions of others. I merely glance at the table. I’m not taking too much notice of it just yet. It’s still early, we’re in a better position than we were two months ago but there’s a very long way to go. You only have to look at the fixture list over Christmas to tell you that. We’ll see where we are when we come out of it and reach the New Year.’
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