One year since Richard Keys' poor Steve Bruce at Aston Villa prediction, will he finally be right?

Villa manager Steve Bruce reacts after a near miss during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on September 12, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

Can Aston Villa win promotion this season?

 

 

Steve Bruce, Manager of Aston Villa looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and Aston Villa at Craven Cottage on April 17, 2017 in London, England.

It is a year ago since Aston Villa appointed Steve Bruce as manager, and it has been an unpredictable 12 months.

It has seen one big spending transfer window, another penny pinching one, and mixed results on the pitch which have tested the patience of both Bruce and the Villa supporters.

In short it has been a reality check for all concerned, not least pundit Richard Keys who boldly predicted one year ago today that Bruce would lead Villa straight back up to the Premier League.

This prediction did not even get close to coming true, with Villa failing to even mount a play-off push.

This was not necessarily Bruce's fault, with him taking over a Villa team still reeling from their devastating 2015/16 Premier League relegation season, and a poor start to the Championship under Roberto di Matteo.

Villa manager Steve Bruce reacts after a near miss during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on September 12, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

The team finished in 13th place, but this season has begun to look a bit more positive.

Four successive wins have lifted Villa to seventh place, just five points off the top of the table.

It's early days this season, but Keys' prediction may turn out to be correct, just 12 months too early.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch