By Phil Jennings
FORMER Villa striker Chris Sutton is the latest pundit to cast doubts on their return to the Premier League.
Sutton insists he wants to stay in the Premier League,
The ex-Celtic and Blackburn forward played for Martin O’Neill’s Villa between October 2006 and May 2007 before retiring.
But he also expressed surprise that not many of last season’s promotion winning squad have survived into the new campaign.
That was because many of them were released and replaced with new, younger, players.
But the core of last season’s squad, Jack Grealish, John McGinn, Conor Hourihane, Tyrone Mings, Ahmed Elmohamady, Neil Taylor and Anwar El Ghazi HAVE played some part in the opening two fixtures.
Sutton praised owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris for backing manager Dean Smith.
But despite two encouraging displays, Sutton told BBC 606 that he is not optimistic based on what he has seen so far.
The HITC site reported Sutton as saying: “It’s very difficult to criticise the board because they have given Dean Smith money
“You look at the team that got them promoted, there are not many of those players that are starting.
“Villa look to me that they are in a bit of trouble. You cannot give teams a four or five games head start. It was really important against Bournemouth.
“Against Spurs, in many ways was a free hit. But Bournemouth at home, with respect to Bournemouth, you’re thinking ‘what an opportunity’. Villa’s problem is, are their new players going to gel quickly enough? I’d love to see them stay in the Premier League.