The last few years, I've written this post with little optimism for the season ahead. This season, it's different. I'm very optimistic because I believe we can win something. I think we've done it right this summer, in so many ways and as supporters we should be optimistic.

That isn't to say that we will go out and after ten games be ahead of the pack winning every game by two or three goals. The confidence comes from having not made too many changes in the summer, bringing in the right players and that one player that can lift the entire team and the manager having a full pre-season and us having the right manager.

I know there are some that don't like him, some that say we don't play the right way under him or score enough goals. But if you put 10 football experts in a room, I'd wager that most would put us down for automatic promotion. Now, you might think we don't play the right way or score enough goals, but if we are thought of as a team ready for promotion this season, that has to be a reason to be optimistic.

And for someone like me, in their early 40's who remembers what it was like to go into a season with a real chance of winning something, it feels nice going into a season like this.

And yes, I'd like to see Gabby gone and Richards sacked, but I understand why they are still here. It would cost too much money to just sack Richards (although for the value he brings, I believe we could do a deal to get rid) and Gabby has, his entire career, conned manager after manager that he should get a new contract, that it doesn't surprise me that he's conned Bruce too.

And for those that didn't know, this is his last season under his current contract, so expect a lot of effort until that new contract is offered and then expect him to go back into Gabby mode. But enough on Gabby, I'm sorry.

Players

So, I'm optimistic and I put most of that down to the manager and his actions, but I also want to see something from a player or two.

The first player on the list is Jack Grealish. Now, we all heard the news that he's out for 2 to 3 months and that isn't nice for him, but we take that. And he started what I'm about to write last season or I think he did, because I wrote that I thought he should do this more and then it just felt like he did, but it could be a case of buying a red car then seeing lots of red cars. But I want Jack to shoot more this season.

He has control of the ball that all very good players have and he can make the space, but too often I see him pass when I think he could have a crack. If we see more of that, I'll be happy because more shots will mean more goals for him.

I can't write this post without mentioning John Terry and I just want to see him finish the season on 30+ games for us. For sure, he will impact the squad off the pitch, but on the pitch is going to be where his influence has the greatest impact. And sure, he might be a little older than most and he might have lost a bit of pace, but he makes up for that in experience.

For me, John Terry is the signing of the summer and I've written about why before. But after him, it's Glenn Whelan. He's going to run and run and run for us and his influence could be instrumental in us gaining promotion. And not just because of his running, but what his running will create.

There are other players, but for me, if those three reach their potential we will get promoted. Naturally we need goals and for me we have to play for Scott Hogan. But that isn't about him or any other striker. It's about the midfield and about how we approach games. I hope we do. But at the same time I'd happily take a 1-0 win every week, but that is me.

Hull at the weekend and bet of the season

Have you signed up for your Unibet account yet? If not, do it here. You can get £3 every time we win this season and they have also increased the odds on us winning the League. And, if you wanted it, you can get 21/20 on us at the weekend.

Bet of the season has to be on us to win the League though. And if you bet £30 here and we don't do it, you'll get your money back.

Author: Damian
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Damian started The Villa Blog as a passion project quite a few years ago while he was living in South Africa. Now living in Sweden, it continues. He's originally from Chasetown and grew up when supporting Villa meant there was a real chance of silverware at the start of every season.

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