Enemy Lines - Aston Villa

Bolton go to Villa Park on Saturday, where their last three visits have resulted in 4-0, 4-2 and 5-1 losses.

This season however, we come up against a Villa team that had their preparation for the new season ruined after Martin O'Neill's sudden resignation and a Villa still in transition mode with caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald serving his last game before Gerard Houllier takes over.

We caught up with Vital Villa to find out just how big an affect they believe O'Neill's exit had on their club. "It had a massive impact on the club, fans and team. To be fair, I personally think he should have gone as things had gone stale and he hadn't looked happy for a good while either. BUT he should have gone at the end of the season, not 5 days before the new one. Not nice timing and not good turning his back on his many followers amongst the fans. There was little to no dignity in the way he left us all in the lurch, left a bad taste in my mouth for sure."

So what of his replacement, their hopes for the rest of the season and of course, what's in store for us this weekend?

Are you happy with Gerard Houllier as O'Neill's replacement or was there someone else on your wish list?

The wish list was short because of the timing of the walk out. As above, if he had gone in May we could have had a more relaxed time looking for realistic replacements and could have tempted people in jobs as well. The thing is, the likes of David Moyes, Martin Jol and Mark Hughes are too decent to do what MON did and leave when the season is so close so there was three names straight out.

Houllier? The longer I've had to think about it, the more I like his experience, his record and his potential style of playing. And end to the ugly (albeit fairly effective in a 90's football kind of way) hoofball sounds good to me!

How would you say you have started the season under Kevin MacDonald? Any players been particularly impressive and any not so?

Strange season so far, home win v West Ham was great then we got a tonking v Newcastle then threw away a 1-0 lead to lose in the dying seconds v Stoke, although I think we played some good football against them to be fair.

Marc Albrighton is impressing, a very nifty winger who will get better and better. As for who haven't impressed, bit early in the season to say really, not impressed that Big John Carew is again not fit and available though! We need a striker, that has been the same issue for 5 odd years though!

In recent seasons you have been in the European spots, even challenging for the Champions League. Do you think with the new regime in place, you can challenge up there again?

I think we will challenge again, we'll be there or thereabouts. I would rather a bit of silverware to be honest, Europe and especially the Champions League bores me. How can 3rd loser be in a league of champions?! All about £££ and it has bastardised our league with an almost closed shop top four.

Are there any players you think are capable of winning this weekend's match for you?

Gabby (Agbonlahor) was looking good v Stoke, although strangely more in setting up chances than having any goal opportunities. I hope Steven Ireland is back in as well as I think he'll be a gem for us. On our day we are a nice football playing team and can damage our opposition, our problem is we aren't always clinical in our finishing and that then puts too much pressure on our defenders - case in point, Ashley missed a chance v Stoke to go 2-0 up. It was a sitter..! We ended up losing.

With Gary Cahill serving a suspension, he obviously won't be returning to Villa Park. Are there any other Wanderers players you'd rather see miss this game?

Cahill, breaks my heart we got .... sorry, not we... MON ... got rid of him. Great player.

And finally, a prediction. Trips to your place have proved unfruitful for us for a few seasons now. Do you think that is set to continue on Saturday or are you worried we might ruin the welcome parade?

2-0 to the Villa.... think the lads will be well up for it after throwing away the points last monday.

Burnden Aces would like to thank our volunteer from Vital Villa for taking the time to answer our questions.

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 AFC Wimbledon 19 17
20 Tranmere Rovers 18 17
21 Milton Keynes Dons 19 14
22 Southend United 20 6
23 Bolton Wanderers 16 2
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