I do quite like Friday night football. Don't get me wrong, Saturday at 3pm is where it's at, but it does free up the weekend and means I can watch someone else at 3pm on Saturday and that's always fun. Remember, football is the sport and Aston Villa is the Club.

It also means I can have a pint and watch the game with some cheeky optimism, because optimism is my friend.

And the manager has had a week with the players and he'd have done all I wrote about in my previous post, so it's fair that we are all optimistic today. Because we have to believe that Dean Smith is the man and that as time goes on, things are going to get better.

And it was his first week with the squad. Sure, he took over a little longer ago, but it was a hectic first week. This one has been more manageable and hopefully more professional. And some of the stories coming out of the Club have been promising.

So, it's blind optimism again, but we're all used to that these days and if we want to accept it or not, we can all convince ourselves. I for one believe we're going to win tonight and it's going to be fun.

Match facts from the BBC

  • Aston Villa have never lost a home league match against Bolton Wanderers outside the top flight.
  • Since their goalless draw at Wembley in the 2000 FA Cup semi-final, there has been at least one goal scored in 27 matches Villa have played against Bolton in all competitions.
  • Villa, who have lost their last two league games, have not lost three in a row since their run of five successive losses under Steve Bruce in February 2017.
  • Bolton have managed just two goals in their last eight Championship games, failing to score in each of their two.
  • New Villa manager Dean Smith has faced Bolton three times in the Championship - with Brentford - and won all three matches.
  • Bolton boss Phil Parkinson was manager of Bradford City when they beat Villa over two legs in the 2012-13 League Cup semi-final.

Bolton at Villa Park