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After a summer of real change at Villa Park, Aston Villa are ready to slog it out in the Championship this season.
Former West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has been brought in, not only to steady the ship, but to guide Villa back to where this famous old club belongs.
Although the likes of Ciaran Clarke, Idrissa Gueye, Brad Guzan, Scott Sinclair – among others – have departed the club, Villa have signed former Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick, Pierluigi Gollini from Verona and Aaron Tshibola arrived from fellow Championship side Reading.
However, there’s one signing that has stood head and shoulders above the rest in the Championship this summer, and that’s Villa’s new £12 million man Ross McCormack, who made the high-profile switch from Fulham last week.
After a couple of dismal years of struggling in the Premier League, some Villain supporters will greet this stint in the second tier as a bit of respite.
Is he the right man at the right time?
But can McCormack, who’s lit up this division over the last few years, be the man to fire the Midlands club back to the big time?
Ever since the striker arrived in English football from Scotland in 2008, he’s always had an outstanding eye for goal.
In his first season in the Championship with Cardiff City, McCormack netted a superb 21 goals, as the Bluebirds narrowly missed out on a play-off spot.
Since then, whether it’s been at Cardiff, Leeds United or indeed Fulham, McCormack has gone from strength to strength.
Eyebrows were certainly raised when the Scot transferred to Craven Cottage from Elland Road for a whopping £11 million back in July 2014 and, although the Whites endured a tough first season back in the second tier, McCormack was without doubt their main man.
Two years on, even more eyebrows were raised when he signed at Villa Park for an even heftier price tag, but it could turn out to be an invaluable bit of business by the relegated club.
McCormack was helpless in Villa’s opening day defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, he did, however, get a good 77 minutes under his belt.
Good early signs
Although the new Villa No. 44 missed a decent chance to give his new side the lead, the signs were definitely there that he can fit into Di Matteo’s system with real aplomb.
It’s a long old season in the Championship, and Villa will be relying heavily on McCormack’s goals to keep them in the promotion hunt.
The Scotland international, who’s been capped 13 times by his nation, has all the experience in the world in England’s second tier, and that will no doubt prove to be vital as the season goes on.
Time is imperative
It’s important that the demanding Aston Villa fans give the 29-year-old the time to bed into his new surroundings and find his scoring boots – after all, he could be the man who fires their beloved team back to the promised land at the first time of asking.
Written by Gareth Hinton
Follow Gareth on Twitter @Galccfc
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