The fact that Barry Bannan is no longer turning out in an Aston Villa shirt has bemused boss Steve Bruce, he admitted.
Following his side's 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday, thanks to a double from Jonathan Kodjia, Bruce admitted it was somewhat frustrating to see a player like Bannan turning out against his team, not least because he was all but given away.
Bannan made over 80 appearances for the Villains before joining Crystal Palace and then moving on to Wednesday last season where he has starred in the Owls midfield.
Bruce said after yesterday's win: "We’re disappointed that we haven’t been able to mount a challenge but I think we’re moving in the right direction.
"There’s an example today. How on earth we’ve let Barry Bannan leave this club on a free transfer tells you which way the club’s been over the last few years. That’s what we’re still trying to put right. Everywhere I look, we’ve let good players leave the club. Barry Bannan in particular, there’s another one down the road who has just won the Premier League (Marc Albrighton). All of that is the spiral of instability, if that’s the right word. We’ve got to amend all that and that takes time.
"If you keep nicking a few results, that gives you time and that’s my aim. A club like this has got to be in the top end of this division."
Saturday's match between the sides turned on a red card given to Vincent Sasso after a rash challenge on former Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane.
Carlos Carvalhal was sent off following protestations surrounding the decision, but Bruce felt referee Lee Probert called it correctly.
He said: "These days, I think if you go off the ground with your studs showing, we all know what the outcome is. I think the referee has got it right. It was right in front of me and I thought, that’s going to be one that is right on the edge. Thankfully, Hourihane has seen it coming and I think the referee got it right."
On Carvalhal's subsequent sending off, Bruce added: "It’s not like Carlos is it? I’ve never seen him like that. The decision to send the boy off is game-changing and he knows that. I didn’t think anything of it but I didn’t think he was going to leave at one stage."