That goal from Snodgrass was a relief wasn't it. December wasn't the best month for Aston Villa but in fairness, it wasn't the worst either. It was nice to win though and finish the year seven points from an automatic promotion place.

You see, things swing. We lost out on twelve points in December but had we converted the draws into wins, we'd be a point from an automatic place. It can all change in a month and while we are this close, it can happen at any time.

That is for me anyway, why this could turn out to be the best season we've had in a long time. I don't think we'll win anything but there is big reason to feel optimistic. And three points today would make it even better.

But today wont be easy and that's why this is an important match. But before the match, comments made by the manager after the Middlesbrough match.

Considering the problems that we've had (without nine players) it's a very satisfying win.

The response from the other night was vitally important. We lurch along, we played badly against Brentford second half and all of a sudden we're in crisis.

We have to eradicate that as a club. We can't be just going along quite nicely and then we're in crisis. We've seen today this is a division which throws up results which leave people scratching their heads at. Let us get on with the job in hand.

And I can see why some maybe didn't like what he said. But at the same time, there is this problem at Aston Villa. And there has been for a number of years.

As a Club we need stability and that is I hard for some to understand. It's expected by some that you can bring in a new manager and have instant success. The thing is, that doesn't happen in the real world. Stability takes time to happen and it's not that you bring in a manager and you are stable.

And some wont see that it is a problem at the Club. But some will always disagree and others might not see it that way. But all you have to do is search Twitter, Facebook or read the comments on this blog to see that it really is, even if it is a minority, you see the majority don't complain about victories.

Middlesbrough highlights

Match facts from the BBC

  • Villa have won five of their last six league matches at Villa Park against the Robins (L1).
  • Bristol City's last league win at Villa Park came in August 1979.
  • Aston Villa's last New Year's Day match outside the top-flight came in 1988, a 5-0 home win over Hull City under Graham Taylor.
  • Bristol City have lost 13 of their last 15 away league matches on New Year's Day (D2) since winning 1-0 at Blackpool in 1903.
  • Steve Bruce hasn't lost a league match against Bristol City since December 1998, a 2-0 defeat as Sheffield United boss; he has won four and drawn four since.
  • Robert Snodgrass has had a hand in seven goals in five league matches against Bristol City (three goals, four assists), averaging a goal or assist every 59 minutes against the Robins.