By Joe Bernstein for MailOnline
Published: 01:03 BST, 28 September 2020 | Updated: 01:19 BST, 28 September 2020
Midfielder Conor Hourihane can't believe the transformation at Aston Villa since they were beaten by Fulham in the Championship play-off final at two years ago.
The sides face each other again in the Premier League on Monday and it's Villa whose star is on the rise after a summer spending spree and 100 per cent record in all competitions this season.
Hourihane, 29, is just one of three survivors from the Villa side which fell at the final hurdle at Wembley under Steve Bruce and he's been impressed how the club has been revived under Dean Smith, winning promotion and then staying in the top flight on the final day of last season.
Conor Hourihane is one of three survivors from the Aston Villa side that lost in the play-off final
Aston Villa have significantly bolstered their squad this summer with the signings of Ollie Watkins and Emiliano Martinez (pictured), along with Matty Cash and Bertrand Traore
This summer the club have spent £80million on Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, right back Matty Cash and forwards Ollie Watkins and Bertrand Traore who played in the Champions League semi-final for Lyon last season.
'It's been an amazing journey,' says Hourihane, who thought his dream of playing in the Premier League was over after Tom Cairney's winner for Fulham in 2018.
'We reached the play-off final and lost. Then we