Richard Dunne is sure that Aston Villa still have the capacity to finish in the top six of the Premier League standings this season, despite their up and down start to the campaign.
Villa were left in slight turmoil before the season had even begun when Martin O’Neill quit as manager just days before the big kick-off.
Meanwhile, they were very quiet in the transfer market ahead of the window closing, which left them largely with the same squad that fought to a sixth place finish last season.
However, Dunne does not doubt the quality of the players at the disposal of new boss Gerard Houllier and they will still be in the mix battling for a top-four finish and a chance of qualifying for the Champions League.
Villa are currently eighth in the standings after seven games, but are only one point behind Arsenal, who occupy fourth spot at present.
The Irish defender said: “We have had a good start considering the club was supposed to be in turmoil and everything had gone drastically wrong.
“But we still believe we are a top-six side. Although other teams will say that they have strengthened this season, we feel we had a squad that was good enough last season and is again this time around.”
Aston Villa are 350/1 to win the Premier League, but more success could be witnessed backing them to succeed with a handicap.
Villa are 18/1 to finish at the head of the standings with a 24-point handicap, with each club given a different handicap based on where they were expected to finish at the start of the season.
These points will then be added to the final amount they achieve after their 38 games to form a new table.
Blackpool have been handed a 51-point handicap and they are favourites at 6/1 to win this particular table. See the full divisional handicap betting odds market.