Aston Villa brimming with confidence ahead of battle with Norwich City

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce (Picture: Chris Radburn/PA)

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce (Picture: Chris Radburn/PA) - Credit: PA

Norwich City will face an Aston Villa side brimming with confidence this weekend, as manager Steve Bruce looks to build momentum for a promotion push – next season.

Bruce's side have won five of their last six games but are still 11 points adrift of the play-off places and the former Canaries defender realises his best laid plans may take a while to come to fruition.

'I'm always confident that I can get a team together and I can get out of this division, I've done it before, it would be terrific to do it here,' said the Villa boss, who has four promotions to the top flight on his managerial CV.

'It's never going to be easy because of who we are, we are the big scalp in this division and everyone wants to turn us over.

'Every team that comes to Villa Park wants to perform in the big stadium. So all the bits and pieces make it difficult but I'm quietly confident that we'll be able to mount a challenge and hopefully we're going to be good enough because the one thing that we need at a club like ours is to play in the big league, so we'll try our best.'

Bruce spent around £25m in January, on top of the reported £50m spent by former boss Roberto Di Matteo last summer, but says he is unlikely to spend big again in the next transfer window.

'There won't be huge turnover this summer,' he continued.

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'I don't think the club can expect to do that again because we've seen huge turnovers in the last couple of years. So one or two, that little bit of quality is what we're looking for. I've got a squad which I'm delighted with, if there's a player or a couple of players who can make that big bit of difference, then one or two rather than eight or 10, I can't see many going out the other way.'

On-loan Manchester United keeper Sam Johnstone is a player Bruce would like to keep though.

'I think everybody agrees that Sam needed to go and play some football and the difference between him now and three months ago is there for everybody to see,' he added. 'He's grown into the role, he's more comfortable in his role and he's got that by playing, we've given him that platform to play. If there's that opportunity that we can get him to play more next season then I'd love to do that. I will be having that conversation with Mr Mourinho when the time is right but I hope that we can extend it.'

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