Big opportunity for Aston Villa against Palace

I saw a statistic yesterday that showed if the season went for a calendar year instead of the way it does, that we would have finished the season third bottom and relegated, so I guess we're lucky that the season doesn't run from January to December and that the current form table has us in tenth place.

And with Crystal Palace at Villa Park tomorrow I suppose we have to count ourselves lucky, because this has to be a game where we get all three points and move up the current form table and to some extent take a step closer to survival this season.

Because that is what we're playing for now. And even though I like all the things Tom Fox has to say and he's right in so many things, he's also wrong in others and the reality is, we're not going to be challenging for top six with this manager. But he is right; it doesn't take four seasons. But tomorrow isn't just about the football.

The transfer window opens and even though the manager has said that Delph and Vlaar are going nowhere, I find it hard to accept that if they're not going to sign new contracts that if a good offer didn't come in, we'd not accept it. And if a good offer came in and the players are not going to sign new contracts, I don't think anyone would blame the club for not taking it. In fact, if they're not going to sign new contracts, I think the manager coming out and saying they're not going anywhere in January is shortsighted.

And this will ruffle some feathers, but if Vlaar isn't going to sign a new contract and we're going to let him go in the summer for free, I'd strip him of the captaincy and put him in with the reserves, if only to get an offer for him. Some money now is better than no money in the summer for a player that hasn't got his heart at the club. But that's probably just me.

Crystal Palace

And so to the match and while it's fair to say that things could change very soon, as I type this, Palace are going to be without a manager for the match on Thursday and Keith Millen will be responsible. And this isn't a new thing for him, it's his third stint as caretaker for Palace and in the eight games he has had responsibility, he's only won 25% of the matches.

That doesn't mean he isn't going to make an impact, someone could go and find out that he has always won his second match as caretaker manager for Crystal Palace and then it will be a worry, but the truth is the club and players are finding it hard at the moment and it was also only a few weeks ago that we beat Palace. This should be the match where Lambert gets his win.

Should and will however are two different things. We all know that football is a tough game and it's even tougher when you change things around a lot and when you find a side playing well, you change that to accommodate other players. But Palace are in the bottom three and there are not going to be better opportunities to pick up three points.