This weekend's Play-Off final results mean the line-up for the 2018-19 Sky Bet Championship is complete. We begin our look at next season's opponents with Aston Villa, who came 90 minutes away from a return to the top flight on Saturday at Wembley.
Aston Villa's 2017/18 season
League Position: 4th
Average league attendance: 32,097
Top league goalscorer: Albert Adomah (14)
After a disappointing first year back in the second tier, last season was a real shot in the arm for Villa fans. In and around the Play-Off places for much of the campaign, Steve Bruce's side fell at the final hurdle on Saturday in their quest to return to the Premier League.
The summer saw big name arrivals in the shape of John Terry, Christopher Samba, Glenn Whelan, and Ahmed Elmohamedy as The Villains sought to improve on a 13th place finish the previous year.
Initial signs weren't good but, after winning just one of their first seven in the league, Villa hit their stride in the autumn. Four straight wins in September elevated them into the Play-Offs places where they would stay, save for a week over Christmas, for the rest of the season.
A run of one win in five around the March international break put pay to their automatic promotion hopes as they settled for a Play-Off semi-final against Middlesbrough. Mile Jedinak's first-leg goal was enough to separate the sides and send Villa to Wembley. However, Fulham proved too strong on the day, consigning The Villains to a third season in the Championship
Miles from Brentford: 118
Address: Trinity Road, Birmingham, B6 6HE
Next season will be Steve Bruce's 40th in professional football after a stellar career as a player and a manager. Bruce started his career at Gillingham but made his name as part of the Norwich City team that won promotion from Division Two before finishing fifth in Division One the season after. While at Carrow Road he also won the League Cup in 1985 before moving to Manchester United in 1987. At Old Trafford Bruce won three League titles, three FA Cups, three Charity Shields, a League Cup, the European Cup Winners' Cup and the Super Cup.
Bruce ended his career with Birmingham City and Sheffield United before taking his first managerial role with The Blades. He lasted just a season at Bramall Lane and had short spells with Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic, and Crystal Palace before returning to Birmingham City. In six years at St Andrew's he twice won promotion to the Premier League but left in October 2007 after a falling out with the board. He achieved mid-table Premier League finishes with both Wigan Athletic and Sunderland before moving to Hull City in 2012. He led Hull to promotion during his first season. keeping The Tigers up, and reaching the FA Cup final for the first-time ever, in his second season. He wasn't able to achieve the same results the following year, leading to relegation, but The Tigers roared back, winning the Sky Bet Championship Play-Offs last campaign. Despite winning promotion in May, frustration at a lack of transfer activity at The KCOM Stadium, saw him depart a month later.
The Key Man
Jack Grealish - 2017/18 31 appearances, 3 goals
How long Grealish remains a Villain is up for debate with Manchester United the latest to join the 22-year-old's list of potential suitors. Grealish joined his boyhood club at six and made his Villa debut away at Manchester City in May 2014. A dynamic, technical midfielder, Grealish was a key part of Villa's run to the 2015 FA Cup final and made his 100th appearance for the club in April.
Head to Head
Brentford wins: 2
Aston Villa wins: 6
2018/19 Odds with Leo Vegas Sport UK
Championship Winners: 9/1
Odds correct at time of writing.
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