Winning is contagious, and Aston Villa Football Club is infected -- at all levels.
Like the senior team, the Villa U21s are now also on a winning streak after Monday's convincing 3-0 win over West Brom at Bodymoor Heath.
For the reserves derby, Villa fielded a squad that looked more like something you'd expect for a first-team League Cup match than a U21 fixture, with senior squad members Carles Gil, Jack Grealish, Andreas Weimann and Carlos Sanchez all starting, along with highly touted youngsters Lewis Kinsella and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, who became the first 16-year old to play for Aston Villa in the Premier League when he came on as a sub against Sunderland on Saturday.
West Brom also had a decent lineup, with experienced players Yousouff Mulumbu, Victor Anichebe and Cristian Gamboa all starting for the Baggies.
It didn't take long for Villa to exert control as Gil's cross found Graham Burke in the fifth minute for the only goal of an entertaining and open first half.
After Gil, Sanchez and Weimann were subbed off at halftime, Grealish doubled the Villa lead by finding the corner of the net from the edge of the box before Joshua Webb scored from a late corner to finish off the game.
That win, which was some nice revenge for Villa after the Baggies' 4-1 win in the U21 derby back in October, followed last Monday's Villa U21 triumph over Bolton as Burke and Harry McKirdy scored great goals to give the claret and blue youngsters a 2-0 win at the Macron Stadium.
The back-to-back wins moved Villa from the bottom of the 12-team Premier League U21 Division 2 league all the way up to eighth place on 15 points from 15 matches. Not a great return for the entire season, but it's good to see improvement from the U21s mirroring the team's recent success in the Premier League and FA Cup.
As the Tim Sherwood era at Aston Villa moves forward, it will be interesting to see how the youth teams continue to develop, especially with the new manager's tendency to promote and utilize younger players into the match day squads.
Youth rarely got a sniff when Paul Lambert was in charge, but it has to be motivating for the reserve and academy players to see their friends and teammates -- like 16-year old Hepburn-Murphy did last Saturday -- get on the pitch for Villa in the Premier League.
And that can only help them improve as players, which will benefit Aston Villa at all levels in the long term.