Aston Villa have enjoyed a strong turnaround this year under Steve Bruce, which has seen the club swiftly move on from a tough start in the league campaign to move as high as second in the table after match-day 32.
The opening few weeks of the season saw Villa sitting in 18th yet, having clawed their way back up the table, the Villans look set to fight for promotion to England’s top flight via the play-offs.
Promotion would be a huge achievement for Bruce and his men and the Premier League would undoubtedly welcome a return for the English giants.
Should the Lions find their way back into the top flight, there will be a number of youngsters hoping to make their mark on the first-team, with the added incentive of establishing themselves as rising Premier League stars.
With the season drawing to a close, we take a look at three individuals who should be watched closely as they bid for a regular spot in the Villa first-team.
Aged only 19, Andre Green has already played nearly 20 games for the Villans. Making his debut back in 2015/2016, the teenager has already experienced the Premier League stage and will be itching at the prospect of a return to the top flight.
A highly-rated winger, Green has represented England at every youth level from under-16 to under-20, where he is currently still a squad member.
The 19-year-old has previously drawn a lot of attention from Premier League clubs interested in his signature but, in spite of this, Green has since opted to sign a long-term deal at the Midlands club.
Like Jack Grealish, Green should quickly become a fan favourite with increased first-team exposure as a graduate of the club’s academy.
With a strong pre-season under his belt this summer, the winger has every chance of making it into Steve Bruce’s plans for the seasons to come.
England under-20 forward Keinan Davis has enjoyed a decent season with Villa this year, making around 15 appearances so far and bagging a couple of goals along the way.
At 6ft 3in, the 20-year-old is a frightening prospect for central defenders, and could be a useful weapon for Bruce against the strong defences boasted by Premier League sides.
Davis is clearly rated by Bruce if his game time this season is anything to go by, and the manager will be hoping his young forward can kick on and build on his experience gained during the current campaign.
With loan forward Lewis Grabban likely to return to parent club Bournemouth at the end of the season, a vacancy should open up for Davis to make his own.
English right-back James Bree will be hoping to continue his development by learning from senior full-back Ahmed Elmohamady, while maintaining hopes of overtaking the Egyptian star as the club’s first choice in his position.
Bree, 20, joined Villa after three successful seasons with Barnsley, and has made seven league appearances under Bruce this term.
With Elmohamady turning 31 next season, Bree should have an increased chance of playing time, especially if the club returns to the top flight.
Having brought the youngster to the club, Bree is clearly the plan in terms of the right-back for the future, and will continue to be eased into the starting XI.
After shining for the development side this season, it would be unsurprising to see Bree line up as a first-team regular next term at Villa Park.