Aston Villa boss refusing to give up on play-offs; believes 73 points could be enough

According to the Express and Star, Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce believes his side can still make the play-off positions, but says they will need to win the majority of their fixtures in the Championship run-in to do so.

What’s the word, then?

Well, Villa are currently 11 points behind sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday with eight matches of the season remaining, and while finishing in the top six would seemingly need a miracle now, Bruce isn’t ready to give up just yet.

What’s Bruce said, then?

He told the Express and Star: “We have a squeak [of making the play-offs]. To stand a chance this season? We have eight games. Realistically… yes probably.

“If we won seven and drew one… maybe. You never know.

“It’s a tall order for us – but for sure we won’t give up.”

How has it come to this?

It’s just been a bit of disastrous campaign for Villa.

Having spent more than £50m on transfer fees during the summer, the side needed to get off to a bright start under new boss Roberto Di Matteo, but they did exactly the opposite and the Italian was replaced by Bruce in October after winning just one of his first 12 matches.

While their fortunes turned around initially, picking up just a single point during a poor fun of form in January looked to have killed any rekindled hopes of promotion they may have had.

Who have they got in the run-in?

They still have to play Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers, Reading, Birmingham City and Brighton and Hove Albion at home, and Burton Albion, Fulham and Blackburn Rovers away.

Can they do it?

With a manager like Bruce at the helm and with the quality they have in the squad, of course they can.

However, even if they did take the 22 points the former Hull City boss thinks they will need, that would still rely on the likes of both Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham slipping up considerably, although intriguingly the duo face each other on the final day.

One thing is for sure – they must beat eighth-placed Norwich at Villa Park on Saturday to keep their hopes alive for another week.