A look at the League Cup, player news and some speculation

Football is a funny game. You'd think with a new manager, there would be an overly optimistic feeling about things to come at Villa Park, but there isn't really. However, there is hope and hope springs eternal.

Now, we could sit and talk about the merits of hope, but we have done it all before. Actions speak louder than words from now on.

But, we also have to accept that it is going to take more than six weeks and seven games. What I'm trying to say is, if after the next five league games we are pretty much no better off than we are today, we still have to be supportive. It takes time.

Gerard Houllier is going to change a few things. If some of the things I have read are true, it could either be a lot or not very much but he must be given the chance.

Blackburn in the League Cup

We like the League Cup and we like playing Blackburn in the League Cup also and because this is the third round, we only have to win tomorrow and two more matches and we are in the semi-final again. Two more after that and it is the final.

Our new manager will also have an idea of who he wants to play and he will also have very clear instructions. Football management isn't rocket science and it is only Blackburn.

I mean no disrespect to Blackburn, after all they scored six goals at Villa Park last season, but I'm putting my money on new manager syndrome and my hope in Gerard Houllier.

For the record - we scored nine goals against Blackburn at Villa Park last season and I do think we will win, this is a tournament we like and we do well in. It is also our best hope of silverware and seeing as we only need to win a handful of games to pick up silverware, the manager will be taking it very seriously.

It would be nice to see a big attendance too, but when Liverpool can only get 25,000 at Anfield for a European night, I think it is the clearest indication yet that supporters are walking away from the silly prices and silly salaries and support now is something that costs so much that it is not given away lightly.

They also can not be blamed for it.

Player news and speculation

Derby have confirmed their interest in taking Shane Lowry on loan and this is good for the player. He should be allowed to leave and play regular first team football, it is part of his development, but there is also some speculation about a couple of other players that I hope isn't true.

Rafael Benítez is apparently interested in Gary Gardner and Sir Alex Ferguson is apparently interested in Ciaran Clark and while I know neither of these stories is new news, it has to be said that they should not be allowed to leave and everything should be done at the club to keep the players happy and motivated.

After all, the players are the cornerstone to the bright future.

Blackburn Odds