Even though the 2-1 scoreline went the wrong way in yesterday's U21 match with Newcastle, there is still plenty to be happy about, as Philippe Senderos and Aly Cissokho both returned to the starting 11 and played the full 90 minutes.
Neither player has featured in what feels like an eternity. Senderos last played in October, and Cissokho in February. However, provided they continue to pass fitness tests, both could have a major say in how the rest of the season plays out, beginning Saturday at Manchester City.
Senderos will rejoin a center back rotation that has been absolutely devastated by injury, following the season ending injuries to both Nathan Baker and Ciaran Clark. Senderos and Ron Vlaar began the season as the first choice CB pairing under Paul Lambert, but with Jores Okore playing pretty well, it would be nice to see the Swiss international gradually worked back into the lineup.
As for Cissokho taking his LB place back from Kieran Richardson, let's hope the French international doesn't have to miss another minute this season. Richardson has played in two big wins for Villa, but he's undoubtedly been the weak link in both teams. He may have a purpose, but that purpose is not at LB.