A tale of two cities – and it isn’t a very happy one

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce - right man for the job. Picture: PA

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce - right man for the job. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

QThis is a meeting of two sides who were expected to do better – so what went wrong at Villa?

Recognise that gait? Yes, it's Ross McCormack. Picture: PA

Recognise that gait? Yes, it's Ross McCormack. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

AWhat went wrong? Hard to know where to start. Buying a 30-year-old striker for a Championship-record fee who can't jump over a locked gate to get to training? Giving the fans that early-season confidence boost they craved by getting whacked 3-1 at Luton Town in the League Cup? Winning just one (at home to Rotherham) of our first 12 Championship games? I guess you'd say too many mistakes were made early in the season – on both sides of the white line.

QIs Steve B the man for the job?

AYes. The club is crying out for a steady head and Brucie fits the bill. They just need a few on the pitch now.

QLet's write off promotion this year shall we? Who will be best suited for a challenge next season?

ATough one to call as so much will depend on the playing squad shake-ups likely to go on at Villa Park and Carrow Road this summer. I'll go for both of them to make the play-offs next year and Villa to break Canaries' hearts at Wembley.

QWhat do you make of Norwich's issues - change of structure as much a talking point as the managerial departure?

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AIf leagues were won on paper, this would still be a key promotion clash. Both clubs have all the infrastructure to be playing Premier League football and both seem to have got big decisions wrong at key times this season. I think Norwich's change of structure makes sense and that mimicking the 'Southampton model' is no bad thing… but the sensible, forward-thinking structure is only going to come off if the right people are put into it.

QYou've spent lots of money – which player or players should City be wary of today?

AJonathan Kodjia is lethal on his day – and Villa have looked toothless up top without him. I like what I've seen of Conor Hourihane so far and left-back Jordan Amavi is a quality player who they will do well to hold onto in the summer.

QAnd who will Villa need to keep an eye on in the Norwich ranks?

AIf Wes Hoolahan is an injury absence I don't think the Villa defence will shed any tears. It's also been hard not to admire Jonny Howson's performances in an underwhelming season.

QA prediction then…

A2-1 the Villa, a last-gasp winner at the Holte End and Michael Bailey to have televised tantrum on the way back from Brum.