Steve Bruce wants opposition teams to fear Aston Villa coming to town as he called on his players to develop a positive away day reputation.
Bruce stresses that his side’s form on the road wasn’t good enough last term and has demanded a marked improvement.
He believes his new experienced players – lads like Glenn Whelan, John Terry and Ahmed Elmohamady – will give the claret and blues an increased toughness.
And he challenged the team to start their away campaign with a bang this weekend as they face Cardiff City.
We want teams on a Friday thinking ‘we’re in for a tough afternoon against Aston Villa’.
Bruce believes there’s no greater test around, however.
He said: “I do think we’re better. The lads we have brought in will make us better mentally. They will make us tougher.
“We will to roll our sleeves up and get stuck into it. Last season we were found wanting too many times away from home. That has to improve.
“We want teams on a Friday thinking ‘we’re in for a tough afternoon against Aston Villa’. Instead of this flimsy Aston Villa, we have to have a look about that ‘we’re ready for the challenge’.
“If we are to be successful and mount a challenge, our away form has to improve.
“We couldn’t have asked for a more difficult challenge than this weekend against Cardiff City.
“We know what to expect against a Neil Warnock side. If you don’t put your boots on and turn up you’re in trouble.
“Too often last season we didn’t have the resilience or mentality to make a fist of it.
“We hope that has changed with the personnel we have brought in. Our home form stacked up. Our away form was abysmal. Let’s be brutally honest. We have to improve that, it’s simple.
“You know a Neil Warnock team will be highly committed, they will be up and at you, they will have a physical presence in a lot of areas, very good at free-kicks and very, very direct.
“Cardiff away will be a test for anybody’s resolve. We will have to match what they show us.”