After making his Premier League debut for Aston Villa in Tuesday night’s 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace, goalkeeper Mark Bunn looks like he could be in the midst of establishing himself as the club’s new No. 1.
The 31-year-old kept his place in the side over the increasingly error-prone Brad Guzan for the visit of Alan Pardew’s men after starting Saturday’s 1-1 FA Cup third round draw at Wycombe Wanderers, and while he was forced into just one straightforward save, he did seem to command his area with much more confidence than his American counterpart.
Speaking to Villa’s official website after the match, manager Remi Garde explained that he liked what he saw from the former Norwich City man at the weekend, and with Guzan currently enduring criticism for his poor form, wanted to see how he would handle himself in league action.
The Frenchman stressed that the change was not necessarily a permanent one, but after watching his side keep a clean sheet to go along with their first top-flight win since the opening day, it would certainly be no surprise if Bunn was starting again against Leicester City on Saturday.
“We were in a bad run for a long time now - and we have conceded goals,” Garde said on putting Guzan on the bench. “I thought after the game against Wycombe, I saw Mark Bunn playing and I had the feeling he could give a little bit of confidence for that game.
“Then I chose to play Mark again and not play Brad.
“But this is not a definitive situation. Today it worked.”
Bunn originally joined Villa on a two-year deal in July after his contract at Norwich expired, and after producing some solid pre-season performances, went on to make his competitive debut for the club in August’s 5-3 Capital One Cup second round win over Notts County.
The ex-Blackburn Rovers stopper was initially seen as just a backup to Guzan in the wake of Shay Given’s summer departure for Stoke City, but the US international’s struggles since last season have led to increasing calls for his understudy to be handed a regular run of games.
With Villa linked with a host of goalkeepers in the current transfer window, it obviously remains to be seen whether the Camden-born custodian can be a long-term option between the posts, but regardless, last night’s start is certainly an ominous sign for Guzan’s future at the club.
To make matters worse for the former Chivas USA star, he was also booed before kick-off for his part in the swearing row with travelling supporters during the weekend's disappointing draw at Wycombe.