Rapid Vienna tonight, a message to Milner and a warm welcome to Stephen Ireland

First off, tonight isn't going to be easy. Rapid Vienna know how to play football and they will make it tough and we will all remember how tough it was last season. It will be different this time out but still tough.

I say it will be different, because MacDonald has had more time and there is more chance we will be playing differently, but we can't take anything away from The Green Whites - they are at home, they are used to winning and they will want to win.


The result tonight matters but the game will not be won or lost tonight - that happens at Villa Park. It is also worth mentioning that MacDonald hasn't had a great deal of time to prepare and for the record, we can lose tonight and my views on him getting a chance will not change.

It doesn't come down to one or two results - it comes down to the football and that takes time, but all noises coming from the club are positive and MacDonald is saying all the right things.

A message to Mr Milner

This isn't sour grapes, it is a response to something I read this morning and I know he has to say it and I know it means nothing, so just take my response as something I have to say and also means nothing.

It didn't take too much selling by the boss when you see the players who are already here. The last thing he said to me was 'be ready to win the Premier League'. That's my ultimate aim - that's why I'm here.

The message Mr Milner is; you won't win the Premier League with Mancini. Sorry, but it just isn't going to happen and we all know you went for the money and we don't blame you really, but it isn't going to happen with Mancini. Sorry.

A welcome to Stephen Ireland

Like Milner is saying all the right things and what you would expect, so is Mr Ireland. It is all good. However, I'm not convinced that he wanted to come here.

Now, that means nothing, the business is business and he did ultimately agree to come - but that could be more about feeling not loved or forced, but I just hope it doesn't effect his football. I hope he comes out and he plays like we all know he can and if he does, then that will be okay and maybe he will grow to love the place.

Again, this isn't sour grapes, but I really do believe we got the best deal in this. Milner, for work rate alone, was fantastic, but Stephen Ireland has more in the locker.

You know, I predicted we could finish fourth last season because of the players we had. I think we have a better chance of finishing fourth this season than we did last and yes, I will be changing my prediction soon - but without O'Neill, I think we could do better than my original prediction.

Live chat and banter tonight

About two hours before kick off, we will be starting a new live chat feature tonight. It isn't managed by us, we just embed it, a bit like the club site one, just not the same. If it works, we might use it every match.