Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce is "quietly confident" his side can claim promotion from the Sky Bet Championship next season.
Bruce's hopes of leading the West Midlands club to the play-offs this campaign look all but gone, with Villa 11 points off sixth place in the Sky Bet Championship with just five games remaining.
However, the 56-year-old claims his side can be at the forefront of a Premier League push next term and predicts the Villans to mount a strong challenge for promotion.
Bruce told the club's official website: "I am always confident that I can put a team together that can get out of this division.
"I have done it before and it would be terrific to do it here."
The former Manchester United centre-back admitted the history and pedigree of the club gives opposing teams an added determination to strive for victory over his side.
He said: "It's never going to be easy because of who we are. We are the big scalp in this division. Everyone wants to turn us over.
"All the teams that come to Villa Park want to perform on the big stage and in the big arena. So all the bits and pieces make it difficult.
"But I am quietly confident that we will be able to mount a challenge and hopefully we will be good enough."
Bruce makes no illusion of the fact the pressure will be on him to guide Villa back to England's top flight at the second time of asking, adding: "The one thing we need at a club like ours is to play in the big league. We will try our best.
"Whoever is sitting in the chair here at Aston Villa, we've got to mount a challenge. I'm under no illusion that we have to mount a challenge. That's the way it is."