Saturday at the seaside

Looking forward to a trip to Brighton.

Why do we have to play Brighton in February? It’s our league so we should be able to have all our away trips when we want them, and that means Brighton either in August or on a bank holiday and definitely not in February. Good luck to anybody who goes paddling before the match.

Brighton are one of those teams who used to get a lot of sympathy because they were in division four and were getting shafted by their owners. Then they finally got a new ground, which incidentally is a bugger to get to, ended up in the Premier League and even more annoyingly look like staying there. Many years ago we sold them John Gregory, then took Gareth Barry off their hands. Now they’ve got a manager who keeps getting linked with every job, including ours last time, and a midfielder we’ll be buying in the summer, no problem. We’ve got Ezri Konsa back, Bertrand Traore and Marvelous Nakamba are still injured plus there’s the usual array of promising youngsters to fill the bench. The management hasn’t said anything about changes, so maybe he’ll surprise us and drop a couple of undroppables. Or maybe he won’t.

They’re in a run of bad form, and when that happens you can always expect the Villa to help you out. We’re on a run of bad form, and when that happens you can always expect it to carry on. But this time, perhaps not. We’re due a good decision from VAR, or a lucky bounce of the ball, or just something, anything to get the three points. We can’t be as bad as we were last week, or as totally unthreatening as the week before. We just can’t.

So there you are – optimism, reality and gloom, all in a few sentences. And without a single mention of Leslie Ash, back alleys or Jimmy Melia.