COMMENT by Amir Mir
Aston Villa were handed a fairly testing opening set of fixtures on Wednesday morning when the Championship matches for the forthcoming season were announced.
Steve Bruce, who guided Hull to promotion during the 2015/16 season, will come up against his former club on August 5 at Villa Park.
The first five opening matches, including the League Cup encounter against Colchester United, could decide what future Bruce has at the club.
Added with the Hull and Colchester games, Villa will travel to Cardiff and Reading before taking on Norwich on home soil.
Defeats and poor performances from these games will see Bruce come under severe pressure and the possibility of the supporters turning against him.
Roberto Di Matteo, who was replaced by Bruce last October, managed to pick up only one win from his opening 11 matches, which included a defeat at League Two Luton Town in the cup.
Villa need to get off to a positive start because if that does happen then it will have a massive impact on their promotion hopes.
Added with that, picking up points against recently relegated Hull, play-off finalists Reading and Norwich could give the club more hope because the trio could be challenging Villa for promotion.
Villa didn’t suffer a home defeat up until February of the previous season, a similar record added with an improved away showing, will only see the Midlands side climb up the table.
In other Aston Villa news, Tim Sherwood has backed John Terry to move to the club.