Remember this date. The business end of the season begins for Aston Villa

I'm feeling much better today, which sort of makes my claim to the wife that I had either pig or bird flu yesterday a bit rubbish, but yesterday, it was bad. It did give me a good excuse to have a couple of hot toddies and because the wife doesn't read this, I will be having a couple more today, just because, they were lovely and she still thinks I'm in a bad way.

But, before we get into anything Aston Villa, I have to send you to this website. You have probably seen it as a splash page when you go visit the club website, but they've actually set up a website at and it is actually a lot of fun and as an aside, does give hope that the new club website that is coming, will be much better.

Martin O'Neill gives players a break

There is a group of players who I have given quite a number of days off. They don't miss training sessions, they don't miss matches and I must admit at this particular time, freshness is the most important issue. It is trying to keep players fresh and the best way to do it is maybe to take them out of the environment altogether.

This is either going to help or it isn't and if we lose to Burnley and/or Palace, I don't think you can put it down to this break and if we win, I also don't think it can be put down to this break. It's just a time for the players to chill out for a bit and try to forget about the next three matches for a few days.

I posted about someone stepping forward for the business end of the season yesterday and the more I thought about it, which is often the case, the more I think it really is important.

Step forward and be counted

The last couple of seasons, around this time, we have lacked that certain player to step up and yes, it is a team game, but players make the difference. Without getting too personal, when I played schoolboy football we had someone that made the difference and it really was a case of him inspiring us. He was at a different level and looking back, I'm not sure if he did anything different to whoever played in his position if he didn't play, but we all believed he did and that was enough to give us all an extra 5%.

We have a team of players that all work hard and give 100% for 95 minutes, but that 5% I talk about, isn't about effort. It is about something else and I can't call it something as I don't know what it is, but we need it now. We need a player to step forward and we need that player to make us believe and make everyone else in the team believe. I think it can be Webcam but I'm also thinking Downing, Milner, Gabby (in a 451) or maybe even Delph, if given the run and if we are playing 451.

But, I'm in a positive believing mood today. I don't know why, but I'm not going to dwell on anything that has happened this season. We have three very important games coming up and we need to forget everything that has happened as these games really could define our season. The business end of the season has just started for us and we are going to learn a lot about our club over the next few weeks.

We have a part to play too but for now, I'm off for a hot toddy.

Video of the day

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