Aston Villa should give Steve Bruce more time to turn the club's fortunes around, says former midfielder Lee Hendrie.
Bruce has started his first full term at Villa Park with just one win out of six in the Sky Bet Championship, leaving them 18th as they prepare to host Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.
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And Hendrie, who was at Villa between 1994 and 2007, told Sky Sports that although his former club's form over the past five years has been frustrating, Bruce is the man to bring Villa back into the top flight.
Hendrie said: "I think he'll come good. I certainly wouldn't change Steve Bruce as the manager. He's got a great record in the Championship.
"He's had to turn that club upside-down to get it to where it is, and I think he's got the right personnel in. I just think he needs the time, needs the fans and the confidence behind the whole group of players.
"I think that's all it is, he needs that good runs of games and I think Villa will definitely push up that league.
"The Championship is a tough league as it is. It's disappointing because I know as a fan we want to be winning games, back in the Premier League, but in the same breath we need to give people time and let things gel."
Villa finished 13th last season, their first term in the second tier since the late 1980s, having brought in Bruce in October to replace the sacked Roberto Di Matteo.
Hendrie says Villa's form is down to a lack of belief, but insists that recruitment at the club has improved, and that they just need time to gel.
"I think it's down to lack of confidence. I look at Villa over the past four or five seasons, and they've had so many managers come in and try to change the way Villa play.
"They've brought in players in the past that have just not been good enough for the club, and I think Steve has tried to change that. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen overnight.
"It's frustrating as a fan and as an ex player but I do feel that Steve has that mentality, and the signings he's brought in so far have strengthened the squad. I just think it needs time to settle and gel."
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