Aston Villa can't afford to underestimate the Championship

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We've known for months that Aston Villa will be playing Championship football next season but while a number of pundits are already backing the Midlands' club to bounce back, it certainly won't be that easy.

Villa have just 16 points from 33 games in the Premier League and with just one win in 12 and eight consecutive losses, their fate will surely be sealed next weekend.

The midlands-based outfit may be a massive club in the context of the Championship but there's no doubts they face a massive challenge next season in a very difficult division. Incredibly, since 2000, 13 clubs have fallen down to League One shortly after the drop to the second tier.


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With this dooming statistic in mind, Villa would do well to listen to the warning because the Championship certainly doesn't take into consideration the size of the club. Sheffield United and Bolton Wanderers once considered themselves 'big clubs' but both have failed to bounce back.

Caretaker manager Eric Black had his say on the challenge following Villa's eighth successive defeat, against AFC Bournemouth on Saturday. He said: "I am sure this club will one day come back. It's going to be a mighty challenge, an enormous challenge. I went down once with Birmingham and we came straight back up.

"But, my goodness, it's a hard challenge. It's a huge turnaround at a club and it's a different division. It's a sombre mood, as you would imagine.

"It's been a difficult season for everyone concerned at the club. We're not relegated as yet but we're not far off."

Black will remain in charge at Villa until the end of the season but there has been no decision on who will lead the club in the Championship. Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy has been linked with the job at Villa Park as well as former Manchester United boss David Moyes.

There's no doubt it's been a torrid season at Villa Park and the fans are making their feelings known. During the Bournemouth loss, some Villa fans held aloft a banner with the words 'no fight, no pride, no effort, no hope' - unfortunately, they will need all of those attributes to stand any chance of sinking even further down the football pyramid.

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Micah Richards
Joleon Lescott
Premier League
Aston Villa
Gabriel Agbonlahor

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