Tommy Elphick explains what he thought when playing against Aston Villa last term, and makes a bold claim about this season

Bournemouth's Tommy Elphick in action with Aston Villa's Jordan Ayew

The defender is preparing to help the side try and get out of the Championship at the first time of asking.

Bournemouth's Tommy Elphick in action with Aston Villa's Jordan AyewTommy Elphick playing for Bournemouth at Villa Park last season

Tommy Elphick has recalled wondering how Aston Villa got into the position they were in when he faced them as a Bournemouth player last season, and has told the Birmingham Mail that Roberto Di Matteo's side are preparing for the most important campaign in their history.

It was the Cherries that all but relegated the Villans last season as their 2-1 win in April left the Midlands side 15 points adrift of safety with five games left. And having taken just one point from their final 13 fixtures, it is hardly surprising that they ultimately finished bottom of the table.

Bournemouth's Tommy Elphick

And despite the writing being on the wall for some time, Elphick - who left the south coast side to help Villa try and get out of the Championship at the first attempt - has explained the disbelief he felt visiting Villa Park on that occasion, before stressing how imperative it is that they get back into the top flight as soon as possible. 

He told the Birmingham Mail: "Even when I came here with Bournemouth last season, I was thinking 'How has this football club got into this position?'

"It's the fourth or fifth must successful club in England.

Picture Supplied by Action Images

"This might not be the most glorious period in Villa's history but in my eyes, it's the most important season we'll ever have."

Although the club went down without putting up much of a fight - they won three league games all season - they begin the new campaign with plenty of optimism.

New manager Roberto Di Matteo during the press conferenceNew Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo

As well as being under new ownership and having a Champions League-winning manager at the helm, Villa managed to persuade the 28-year-old to drop down a division while also bagging Ross McCormack's signature. The former Fulham man has been one of the most consistent goalscorers in the division over the past few years, so appears to be the ideal striker to inspire a promotion push.

And if the side can gel quickly, it may not be too long before they can put an end to one of the darker chapters in their history.

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