Villa captain Gareth Barry says that the pressure will be on Gabriel Agbonlahor to improve upon what has already been a stimulating and encouraging 2006-07.
Barry has delighted in Agbonlahor's form this season but knows that much more will be expected of the young striker in 2007-08.
Agbonlahor, aged 20, who last week signed a new four-year contract with the club, has recovered from a dip in form to score three goals in Villa's past three matches. His most recent goal, which gave Villa a 1-1 draw at home to Wigan Athletic two days ago, virtually assured the club of Premiership football next season.
The mission now will be to ensure that Agbonlahor does not suffer from what is widely known as "second-season syndrome". Barry, who knows from personal experience of how the vagaries of the game can affect young players, is sure that Agbonlahor will make the appropriate progress next season.
"The confidence is back with Gabby," Barry said. "He started off on fire this season and then people were saying he was looking tired.
"That is going to happen. It is his first full season and the goals are coming in again now and for a striker's confidence that is everything and Gabby has got bundles of it at the moment.
"The dip was always going to come because he had done so well at the beginning. The manager kept faith, kept playing him and he has got his second wind now and hopefully he can see it through the last five games."
Barry does not want to put pressure on Agbonlahor by suggesting that the player has all the attributes necessary for a place in the full England squad. But it is clear that Barry rates Agbonlahor highly.
"Gabby will set his targets to the highest point and that will be playing for your country and getting a full cap," Barry said.
"He has got ridiculous pace which not many players have got so he has got a head start. If he keeps learning the game, I am sure he will have a good opportunity to do it.
"He has come a long way in a short time. You don't want to put too much pressure on him with the England talk but he has got the outstanding pace and the more he plays, the more he will learn about the game as well so it will stand him in good stead for next season.
"It is important you do establish yourself as a seasoned pro and continue to try and do it every season and not filter in and out. Gabby will realise the pressure will be on next season to repeat what he has done but I am sure he can work hard over the summer and look forward to coming back next season."
Agbonlahor has proven his versatility this season by playing as a striker, a winger, and as a deep-lying forward.
"He started well out wide but when he stopped scoring for a few games the manager changed him inside and he has got a new lease of life playing up front," Barry said. "It's good to have different options with players like Gabby and hopefully if he can keep scoring, he can stay upfront.
"If he keeps scoring goals, you've got to keep him up front. Goals are everything in this game and we are struggling at the moment. Hopefully he can see it through this year."
John Carew, the Villa striker, is hoping to return for the match away to Middlesbrough on Saturday but O’Neill has urged his side not to revert to long balls in a bid to exploit the height and power of the Norway international.
Carew missed the Easter games against Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic because of a calf strain and his absence led to a more controlled, patient game as Villa looked to use the pace of Gabriel Agbonlahor and the composure of Patrik Berger.
However, Martin O’Neill, the Villa manager, said that Carew also preferred the ball being played into his feet rather than in the air despite his excellent control.
"John Carew is getting better each day but we don’t know whether he’ll be right for Middlesbrough," O'Neill added. "There has been a tendency, certainly in the early part of games, to get to John Carew quickly because he’s there. In actual fact, Carew prefers to get the ball down and manoeuvre.
"I think it’s been a good lesson for us in his absence. We’ve played two games without him and we’ve shown we’re capable of playing. The idea is not to hit Carew at all times, but to play around him and to play into his feet."
Gary Cahill, the Villa defender, is another making good progress after also missing the past two games with a sore side. But Villa are sweating over the fitness of Wilfred Bouma who suffered a leg injury against Wigan after a wretched challenge by Luis Antionio Valencia.