Writer: Mike Field
Date:Monday October 29 2012
Confidence boost, or a banana skin, it's Swindon in the Cup - question time!
With thanks to STFC_Gazza from Vital Swindon Town.
1) What are you expecting from the season?
Well we are hoping for the playoffs minimum. Yes we just came up from League Two as champions, but our board has invested a lot of money in trying to complete their three year plan of getting Championship football. We currently have one of the highest wage bills in League One and anything less than the playoffs would be deemed a complete failure given the fact League One is on paper a very open and weaker division than in previous seasons. Previously we have had Norwich, Southampton, Leeds etc in League One. The teams who dropped down from the Championship last season as skint ie, Pompey and Coventry City.
2) Were there any highlights or lowlights from your pre season?
Paul Caddis last years championship winning captain, being stripped of the captaincy and shipped out on loan to Birmingham City was a low light. Caddis is an absolute class player and now we miss his leadership and link up play with Matt Ritchie. Ritchie`s form has suffered due to this.
3) How do you feel your club did in the transfer window?
I feel we did ok in the transfer window. We signed two decent strikers, James Collins (former Villa man) and Andy Williams but neither have found any sort of consistency scoring goals. This will cost us dearly I feel this year. Most teams who go up in League One generally do it with a 20 goal a season scorer. In League Two you can defend and not score many goals, In League One that logic doesn`t work.
4) Has anybody left who you think has seriously weakened the team?
Absolutely. I feel we could well do with Paul Caddis who we sent out on loan, He had a falling out with Paolo Di Canio in pre-season and we sent him on loan to Birmingham City. His link up play with Matt Ritchie was dangerous last season and it seems odd to lose a key player over something so petty. Also we are missing that tough tackling midfielder to break up play in the middle. Jonathan Smith did that last season but after winning the league was quickly sent back to York City hmmm.
5)Who is going to be your main dangerman when we play?
We have been woeful infront of goal despite our league positon, so no need to really worry haha. I`d like to think James Collins would be up for it being a former Villa man. Failing that, likely to be Matt Ritchie who will score a screamer from midfield.
6) What are your weaknesses, any clues for the game will be appreciated :-)
Definitely our strike force at the moment, we don`t have a clinical striker who will bang 20 goals in a season, Paolo Di Canio has been working to rectify this but being under a transfer embargo, we have to make do with that we have.
7) Will you have anyone out who would otherwise play?
Yes, we have two of our key players, Andy Williams and midfielder Alan Navarro, both are out for around a month. Nathan Thompson who has seen regular action is also out with a foot injury.
Now with a slightly more Claret and Blue angle...
8) Are you surprised to see how Villa struggled last season and do you think we will again this time round?
I am surprised. I thought Villa would push on after Martin O'Neill's tenure but it hasnt happened. Unfortunately Paul Lambert seems to be throwing his weight around not worried about who he upsets which ultimately will unsettle the team. I dont think Lambert is up to a big job and sadly I think Villa will continue to struggle.
9) Do you have any thoughts on Paul Lambert?
Great manager, bud sadly think the Villa job is too big for him. Has done well elsewhere but at clubs with zero expectation. Norwich the aim was to stay up last year. Colchester was the playoffs if lucky prior to that. Villa is a massive club but sadly his inexperience in the Premier League I feel will hinder his progress. I don`t think he can handle the egos of established premier league players, The Darren Bent situation being a prime example. He will be looked up to and other players wont like the treatment of a fellow pro.
10) What have you made of our youth promotions last/this season, anybody caught the eye for you?
Sorry, I'm not really aware which players have come up through Villa's academy.
11) Who has stood out most from our recent acquisitions for you?
Fabian Delph ok I know you got him a couple seasons ago, but finaly showing the potential he showed at Leeds, he was always once for the future when he was signed in 2009.
12) If you could take one of our players, who would it be and why?
Barry Bannan, quality player. Our midfield of Tommy Miller and Alan Navarro are kicking on a bit. Bannan would be an ideal signing for Swindon Town given the opportunity.
13) Who do you see as our main threat in the game?
Gabby Agbonlahor, he seems to have taken a step back really, but he is still a class player. Once a future key player for England. The skill is there, again Lambert seems to be someone who wont know what to do with him.
14) Where would you say our current weaknesses are in terms of how you will approach the match?
As long as Villa dont play hoof ball we will be ok, we like to play football on the floor the proper way. I'd say our defence is quite weak at the moment and the team struggles to communicate at times so I'd say your strikers are your strong point, and our defence the weakest. You should be in with a shout!
15) Finally, a prediction please kind person...
Although we have been poor lately. We beat Stoke 4-3 away from home earlier in the season so I believe we will win 2-1. Some may laugh, but Villa are struggling so far and we have a knack of beating teams higher up the leagues.
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Date:Monday October 29 2012
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