Aston Villa defender Micah Richards has admitted that the club will produce a different set of results this season which will please the supporters. The former England international feels the team is very confident as they aim to push for Premier League promotion.

Speaking to sponsors, the former Manchester City graduate insisted that the club have learned their lessons from their previous campaign, and he is hoping that the Villains are up there in the qualifying spots when it matters.

He said: "It's been a very tough pre-season, the manager didn't arrive in time to get the team he wanted here. Now he has had six weeks to get us together. It was a strange season last season on the back of relegation and we were expected to go up, and it didn't happen. This season, everyone is feeling very confident. We need some momentum early doors, the squad is good enough and we should be there or thereabouts."

Whilst Richards claims that the club should have been fighting for top-flight promotion last season, a lot of pundits predicted that Steve Bruce's side could struggle in the Championship itself, and a 13th place finish could be considered decent following their early struggles in the division. The latest sports betting and odds at Netbet suggests that the pundits believe they can make a sustained bid for the title and promotion this time around.

Bruce has brought in John Terry to tighten up his backline, but the former Chelsea star could find the Championship as a challenge as several ex-Premier League players have found out in the latter stages of his career. The 36-year-old did not get much of a run in the Blues line-up last term, and he is up to show that he can bag success whilst dropping down a division.

Aston Villa opened their Championship account for the season with a 1-1 draw against Hull City, and the Villains succumbed to their second straight Championship defeat on Tuesday, and this sees them occupying the drop zone in the early stages of the campaign.

Villa's recent run has led to question marks over whether Steve Bruce is the right man for the job. Following Villa's 2-1 defeat at Reading, Bruce insisted that he is confident of turning it around, though it would take a while with key players out through injury.

Jonathan Kodjia and Ahmed Elmohamady are among a long list of players currently in the treatment room, and Bruce feels that the fans got carried away with the signing of John Terry earlier this summer, he said: “We obviously signed JT, people have got carried away with the euphoria of it all. We are where we are and I’m convinced I’m the right one to turn it round. There’s still obviously a load of work to be done but judge us when all the players are fit and ready and at the minute we are having a tough time. We’ve had a tough start – Newcastle had a tough start last year – we have to batton down the hatches, still believe in what we are doing and get that win which will obviously give everyone a lift.”

Terry had been a key influence during Aston Villa's pre-season where they kept a string of clean sheets, but the new Championship season has not provided much fruit for the Chelsea legend, who has looked powerless in the Villa backline. Just a year ago, Aston Villa were tipped to drop down to League One, and Bruce will seek to pick the club up in the coming weeks in order to negate further talks about their position.