By Will Butcher

Chris Sutton is convinced Aston Villa will secure promotion to the Premier League this season even though they currently sit in 11th place.

Villa started the season in atrocious form under manager Roberto Di Matteo, winning just once in 12 games. Steve Bruce was brought in to replace the sacked Italian.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club, Sutton claimed that the presence of newly appointed manager Bruce will be the driving force behind a potential promotion push for Villa.

“Steve Bruce was a brilliant appointment,” Sutton claimed. “He’s a brilliant manager, I think that he should have been given a chance at the top end of the Premier League.

“In my opinion, he’s been around and proved himself enough. He’s going to get Villa up this season; they’ve got momentum, he has been there before and I think Villa will go up.”

Bruce has began life at Villa Park in superb fashion, instantly turning around the relegated Premier League side’s fortunes with a seven-match unbeaten run.

Four wins and three draws has seen Villa move into the top half of the Championship table for the first time this season.

Sutton, who played under Bruce at Birmingham City towards the end of his career in 2006, is firmly of the opinion that Bruce can continue his reputation as a Championship promotion expert.

Former Sunderland boss Bruce has secured promotion to the top flight on four separate occasions, twice with Hull City and twice with Birmingham.

Villa next face Leeds United on Saturday in a tea-time kick-off at Elland Road, as Garry Monk’s side look to secure their ninth league win in 12 games.

In other Aston Villa news, Darius Vassell has named two ex-Villa stars in his dream 5-a-side team.