Bruce hopes experience is key for Villa in play-offs

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The former Man Utd defender is targeting another promotion to the Premier League but is wary of the challenge of playing Middlesbrough

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce believes his previous experience will be the difference maker in this season's Championship play-offs.

Bruce has been promoted to the Premier League more times than any other manager and he has twice won promotion to the top flight via the play-offs.

Villa play Middlesbrough in the first leg of the semi-finals on Saturday and the former Manchester United defender is hoping his previous successes will help the team progress.

Bruce said: "I've been in this position before and been successful so the experience helps you. In both (Birmingham and Hull), they've been totally different.

"You can't predict it but the one thing you have to be able to do is perform.

"I think we've got the right experience - we've certainly picked players who can handle playing for Aston Villa and hopefully their experience will get us over the line and where we want to be."

Villa have experience in the squad with old heads like John Terry and Glen Whelan in the dressing room and picked up four points against Boro in the Championship this season.

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Despite that record, Bruce is still wary of playing Middlesbrough as he knows Tony Pulis has always been able to get a result when it matters.

He added: "We've proved that we can go to Middlesbrough and get a result but it's going to be difficult because the four teams that are in it are big clubs.

"We've probably, I think, got the most difficult one but let's enjoy that challenge and rise to it. We know it's going to be difficult for them too."

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