By Graham Hill
FORMER Villa striker Stan Collymore says Dean Smith’s side are ‘ready to take some scalps’ this season.
And he defended Villa’s spending spree – admitting the team that won promotion were ‘not fit for purpose’.
Collymore said in his Mirror column: “I think there are some important differences between them and Fulham – and I expect my old club and favourite team to be okay this season having seen them several times in pre-season already.
“When Fulham beat Villa last summer at Wembley to go up, the Cottagers actually had a decent side who might have competed in the top-flight were it not tampered with so disastrously.
“But Villa’s successful play-off winners 12 months on, weren’t actually fit for purpose and they would have been dead and buried by Christmas with their old squad.
“Villa needed a huge rebuild and I think new club-record £22m Brazilian striker Wesley Moraes will excite fans.
“He has a great first touch and turns and moves the ball off the line very well. The permanent acquisition of successful loans Tyrone Mings and Anwar El Ghazi is also very important.
“Hopefully new holding midfielder Douglas Luiz can help captain and playmaker Jack Grealish get some proper support to bring the best out in him.
“I feel the maximum they could achieve should be 12th and the worst will be 16th – 17th.
“But I have seen them live in pre-season in wins against Shrewsbury, Walsall and Charlton, and also RB Leipzig on TV, and been pleasantly surprised with the quality and style. They will take some scalps this season.”