Aston Villa are in a much stronger positions than they were at the same stage a year ago, and boss Steve Bruce will be extremely confident that the side he has assembled are capable of challenging for a return to the Premier League.
A number of quality additions have walked through the doors of Villa Park since the window opened in June, with the notable acquisition of John Terry possibly one of the most astounding deals of the summer.
Despite the former England captain pledging his future to the club, it is another defender who could emerge as one of the most important characters both on and off the pitch next season.
James Chester joined the club last year from local rivals West Brom, and impressed at the heart of the defence as Villa recorded a disappointing mid-table finish last time out.
The Welsh international was one of the most consistent performers in the squad, and his form will once again be essential to the success of his club when the season kicks off with the visit of Hull in less than two weeks time.
28-year-old Chester will excel alongside the vastly experienced Terry, and the pair have the potential to form an imposing partnership at the back, and Villa are set for one of the best defensive records in English football next year.
Chester is a leader like Terry, and the duo will lead from the back.
If they both stay fit, Villa look good for an automatic promotion spot.
Can Chester be your key man next season, Villa fans?