By Will Butcher
Steve Bruce believes Aston Villa need a handful of the Championship frontrunners to crumble spectacularly between now and May if his side are to finish in the play-offs.
Villa secured their fifth win in six games on Saturday, securing a 2-0 victory away at relegation-threatened side Wigan thanks to goals from captain James Chester and striker Scott Hogan.
Talking to the Birmingham Mail, promotion expert Bruce refused to rule a top-six finish out but is aware that multiple sides in the top six need to suffer a “Devon-Loch” style collapse.
Devon Loch was the Queen’s racehorse, that fell on the final straight while leading the 1956 Grand National.
“Slowly but surely, I keep saying this, there’s little seeds of recovery,” Bruce said. “We’re never going to give up, we never know. “We’ve got into the top half of the division now.
“We can now set our sights to get into the top 10 and then see if a few Devon Lochs can appear – teams falling to bits.”
Captain Chester opened the scoring with less than 20 minutes on the clock, as he headed home after capitalising on a mistake by Latics goalkeeper Matt Gilks at the DW Stadium.
January signing Hogan then put his injury demons behind him by coming off the bench to score his first goal in claret and blue, as he headed an Albert Adomah cross into the bottom corner.
The win sees Villa move within just two points of tenth placed Derby, with 24 points still up for grabs from their remaining eight league games.
However, the relegated Premier League side remain 11 points off the Championship play-offs and still have some way to go if they are to make a late charge for the top six.
In other Aston Villa news, Tony Cascarino has made this assessment of the Midlands giants.