As we prepare for the 2018/19 Sky Bet Championship play-offs, Aston Villa are certainly the team to watch going into the final stages of the campaign.
The Villans’ hopes of a promotion spot looked dead and buried in February, with Dean Smith’s men languishing in mid-table after a dismal run of form.
But Smith’s side were then galvanised by the return of Jack Grealish, embarking on a club-record winning run of 10 league games, propelling themselves right into the play-off mixer and staying there for the remainder of the campaign.
And now, you have got to fancy Villa’s chances of lifting the trophy at Wembley, as they prepare to face local rivals West Bromwich Albion in the semi-finals – they have real momentum, confidence, and some of the best players in the Championship.
It speaks volumes that, even without star-man Tammy Abraham, Villa have still ended the season strongly, with Jonathan Kodjia more than stepping up to the plate in the final stages of the season.
The 29-year-old has scored three goals in his last four games, and has surely given Smith a selection headache going into the play-offs.
It has been a pretty mixed season for Kodjia – the Ivorian forward found it tough when played out wide in the first-half of the campaign, and was even linked with a Villa Park departure in January before his move to Angers was blocked by the club.
But the powerful attacker will now be thankful that he never moved away from Villa Park, given how impressive he has been in recent weeks.
And, with Abraham back in training after a short spell on the sidelines, Kodjia will surely fancy his chances of retaining his spot in the team despite the Chelsea loanee’s imminent return.
He offers pace and power up top, and will be full of confidence after scoring some important goals over the last few weeks. He has every chance of playing a massive part in Villa’s play-off campaign.