I think it's time to accept that Aston Villa will not be automatically promoted into the Premier League and if we are to have any hope of playing in the Premier League next season, that will have to happen through the play-offs.

And you know what, statistically the second season is harder than the first, after relegation from the Premier League, so some might look at that as an achievement. It's also worth pointing out that we have the manager that is the most successful ever at getting teams out of this League and into the Premier League and if my memory is correct, he's done it just as many times through the play-offs as he has by automatic promotion.

And while this season has been the best season we've had in a number of years and while it doesn't bother me if we get promoted or not, I think it's fair to say that every Aston Villa fan wants to be competing at the highest possible level.

It's just, would you put your hand into the fire knowing it was going to hurt?

Anyway, the play-offs. Fourth plays fifth and third plays sixth in the first round of matches. The winner of those matches, it's home and away, go through to the final on May 26th at Wembley. The winner of that match is going to have a great season of revenue and the Club will make a lot of money if it wants to.

If that Club is to do more than just survive i.e. compete, they have to spend money in a way that has never happened with a promoted Club with the same owner in both Leagues. But you know what, we're Aston Villa, we are always the first to do something, right. I mean, there are so many reasons to be optimistic that that will happen with our Club.

At Hull

I've not got that much into the football this season, but I have to mention something about Hull and it's not positive, but we played like a hungover pub team. There were so many lost passes and by that I mean we couldn't even pass five yards and sometimes we tried to pass thirty and it went to the wrong person.

We basically looked out of sorts and I'm not sure if that was because there was a drink the night before or the night before that, but we couldn't do the basics and we looked deserving of this League.

It has to be better tonight only because we don't want to finish sixth and it would be nice if we went into the final few matches with a winning feeling because that is what I suspect will get us up. Although I should say it might also be a good time to rest a player or three before the end of the season. I mean, just a match or two, but that's just me.

Better tonight against Reading

So, tonight is all about saying sorry for that performance against Hull. The result could have been worse, but like I said above, they played like hungover kids. Full of energy, but not the smartest and that is what needs to be rectified tonight. Three points would also help.

We simply need to be sharper and not think we can go into some of these matches and just win. Sure, we have the quality and experience, but unless we're at the races, that doesn't mean it's automatically going to happen. We need more. And tonight we have to see it or someone is going to get dropped.

Match facts from the BBC

  • Since a run of six consecutive wins against Reading in all competitions between 2008 and 2016, Villa have lost each of their last two matches against them.
  • Reading's only away victory over Aston Villa in any competition was in the Championship last season - they have lost nine and drawn one of their other 10 visits.
  • Villa winger Robert Snodgrass has faced Reading eight times in the Football League but is yet to register a goal or assist against the Royals.
  • Aston Villa haven't lost consecutive home league games since February 2017 - they were unbeaten in 10 before defeat to QPR last time out at Villa Park (W7 D3).
  • The Royals have won just one of their last nine away Championship games (D3 L5), beating Burton 3-1 in January.
  • Modou Barrow has had a hand in seven away goals for Reading in the Championship this season (four goals, three assists), more than any other player.