By Harry Sykes

Alan Shearer has claimed that Aston Villa can win promotion back to the Premier League despite their dreadful start to the season.

The Midlands giants won just one of their opening 11 Championship matches under former manager Roberto Di Matteo.

But Villa’s fortunes have been transformed by new boss Steve Bruce, who has guided the team to three wins and two draws from his opening five games at the helm.

Villa are currently in 14th position in the league table but only five points separate them and sixth-placed Leeds in the last play-offs spot.

TV pundit Shearer, who was involved in a question and answer session before Saturday’s Match of the Day programme, has stated that Villa can secure promotion back to the top flight and backed Bruce to have a major influence.

“It’s a big ask for them to bounce back automatically, but they might have a chance of getting into the playoffs,” the former England striker told Match of the Day’s Facebook page.

“It [hiring Bruce] was a brave appointment, but I am a fan of his. He’s got an excellent record of getting teams up from the Championship. It wouldn’t surprise if he gets Villa up – maybe not this season, but I think they’ll definitely be in with a shout next season, if not this season.”

Villa will take on high flying Brighton after the international break in a match scheduled to be on TV on Friday 18 November.

In other Aston Villa news, the club are eyeing a January move for a prolific winger.