OPPOSITION VIEW: Aston Villa
1) Aston Villa are a massive club, are fans looking forward to coming to Swindon? The facilities to say the least will be a bit more basic than what you are used to!
Sounds like it to me (when you remove the despair about our league form lol). I think for those going they'll have fond memories of real grounds instead of the plastic kit generic types you often get in the Premiership now. Old grounds, with character and history and a real feeling to them.
2) Villa have started the season slowly, What do you put this down to?
Our entire tactics and ethos have been changed by Lambert coming in with the style he wants to play and it's basically foreign to how we've played under out last three managers. Also half the squad are new to the league, with a couple new to the country itself, so it's going to take time for it all to click.
There have been promising signs and promising performances, but the Everton, Southampton and especially Norwich performances remain unfondly in the head.
3) Paul Lambert was named manager in the Summer, is he the right man for the job?
I believe so, and I'm confident it will come good but this is going to be a testing season on the pitch, and I'd take anywhere from 15th to 17th this time round because of the changes that the club and our playing staff needed. We could've done with a bit more experience in the summer, to help the youngsters coming through, but that didn't happen so we have to dig in now and hope it comes together sooner rather than later.
4) There is a Villa connection at Swindon Town, striker James Collins came up through the ranks at Villa before moving to Shrewsbury and eventually Swindon. Did you see him play at Villa and how was he rated?
I never actually saw him play but I know how well rated he was by our club and those who take in regular reserve games. I was surprised we let him go, but assumed he was somebody that it was thought needed to take the step down to really develop, hence the Shrewsbury move, but he's certainly come on in recent years from what I've seen and heard about him since.
We also knew he knew where the goal was, it looks like he's developed well in other aspects since becoming a regular.
5) What Villa player should Town fans look out for?
There are a number who I imagine will figure in the game, Andi Weimann for one. A huge talent, who many liken to a Dean Ashton type of player. Good movement, good finisher and not afraid of a little battle every now and then either.
6) What are Aston Villa fans expectations this season?
There are three distinct camps.
Camp 1 believes we will click, go on a good run, and finish in the top half, although obviously nowhere near the European places.
Camp 2 believes it will click and we'll be a different proposition in the New Year BUT we will still be fighting to finish 15-17th in the league. 14-12th would be a dream.
Camp 3 believes we'll see you next season if you gain promotion.
7) Should the club be unable to avoid relegation, how would this affect the club?
Massively, not only would the financial issues come into play with how hard we have tried to grow turnover and reduce wages over the past few seasons, but given the last few years it could well be the end of the line for a lot of fans, who are already falling out of love with football in general.
8) Do you have any specific Swindon Town/Aston Villa memories?
Sadly not, my memories are very vague from younger years. See Q10.
9) Which Villa player has disappointed this season?
There's a number of senior players who haven't hit form and who have been a bit ropey, and dare I say anonymous in games where we need them to step up and be leaders. Ask a different fan and you'll get a different answer at this moment in time.
10) What do you know about Swindon Town FC?
Very little in all honesty, my knowledge of you probably extends back to when Glenn Hoddle was in charge, and I have a vague memory of playing you in a cup game but without searching I couldn't even offer what the score line was.
11) Is Paolo Di Canio good for lower league football, he has certainly raised the profile of Swindon Town Football Club?
I know enough to know he's supposed to be a bit of a fresh air figure in football, and equally controversial, but I haven't followed his exploits closely enough to know the details.
Seems very passionate, and also very stubborn and cocksure, to the point it can seem like petulant behaviour from the little I know, but that's not always a bad thing in football. A manager reacting as a fan does in the moment, doesn't always mean they won't get the respect of their players.
12) What do you make of Paolo Di Canio`s managing style so far, and are you sick of hearing about Di Canio all the time when League One is mentioned?
I really only pay attention to Villa, so the little I do know is mainly the highlights show when nothing else is on, so I can't really offer more than above.
13) Will you be making the trip to Swindon?, if so what are you looking forward to?
No, but I believe quite a few of the lads from the (Vital Aston Villa) forum were planning to.
14) Are you aware of any of Swindon Town`s players?
Only James Collins.
15) What are your predictions for the match?
I can see Lambert rotating for this, which in itself could be a risk for us, but whilst everyone wants a good cup run, the confidence it would bring and the league distraction, you could argue focusing on the league this season is all that matters to us.
That said, I'll go 3-0 to us, because if Lambert rotates, those coming in will know they have a chance to keep the place for our next match, and if he doesn't rotate those players know they need to show a bloody good reaction following the Norwich shambles otherwise some of them might find it difficult to be selected again this season.
Thank you for taking time to answer our questions.
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