Last week was a real test and tonight is another. West Brom are one of the teams fancied to go up automatically this season and while we didn't start the season the way we would have hoped, it appears we're very much acting like the team we would all like us to be, so we can go into this match with a little optimism.
But things are still early and getting carried away is something Aston Villa fans have done many times before, so we can be excused for not doing it again. I mean, there is a difference between competing for the Premier League title and where we are now.
Yes, we can be hopeful, but we have to be realistic. With the players we have, we should be competing for automatic promotion, much like West Brom will hope to be. So tonight is going to be an interesting match to follow. It's not going to define the season, but if we win today, we could go fifth and six points from first place.
And all I'm trying to do is manage expectations. I want to jump up and down and show you how excited I am about things, but I'm in my 40's and I know that playing decent football in the Championship with the players we have is one thing and competing for silverware is another. But it does feel good.
And winning tonight will also feel good. I'll be back but until then, some facts and a video below.
Match facts from the BBC
- West Brom and Aston Villa last faced each other in a league match in January 2016 at the Hawthorns in the Premier League - a goalless draw.
- Aston Villa are winless in their last six league visits to West Bromwich Albion (D4 L2) since a 2-1 win in September 2008.
- West Brom have lost four of their last five home league games played on Friday, winning the other versus Leicester in April 2010 (3-0).
- Aston Villa are winless in eight away league matches played on Friday (D6 L2) since a 2-0 win at Wrexham in March 1972.
- Aston Villa striker Tammy Abraham has scored 10 goals in his last 10 league appearances, including netting seven in his last four.
- Aston Villa have won more points under Dean Smith this season in eight games - 16 - than they did in 11 games under Steve Bruce (15).