By Amir Mir

Aston Villa owner Tony Xia has told supporters the club have sold 18,000 season tickets for the Championship season and are set to sell 5,000 more.

Villa Park holds a capacity crowd of 42,785 supporters, but last season saw attendances drop to an average 33,690 as the Villa faithful voted with their feet amid wretched player performances and lack of interest from then-owner Randy Lerner.

Xia has subsequently taken ownership of Villa, the club have appointed Roberto Di Matteo as manager and they have signed three new players- Defender Tommy Elphick, midfielder Aaron Tshibola and goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini.

It seems as though the supporters have reacted positively to the club’s transformation, despite being in the second tier of English football for the first time since 1987.

“P.S just got latest numbers exceeding 18k for season tickets! With 5k more to go, will surpass last season,” said Xia on Webo as cited by the Birmingham Mail “I hope more Villans back enjoying the game again!”

The Championship season kicks off in three weeks with Villa travelling to Sheffield Wednesday on August 7 as the club prepare to gain instant promotion back to the Premier League.

In other Aston Villa news, manager Roberto Di Matteo is set to axe nine senior players from the club.