Playing in one of the first Premier League games after lockdown will be “exciting” for an Aston Villa side who perhaps did not realise the plight they were in, says midfielder John McGinn.
England’s top flight will restart on 17 June – subject to government approval – with Villa hosting Sheffield United and Manchester City welcoming Arsenal.
Villa sit 19th, two points from safety, but with a game in hand.
“Everyone will be watching so it’s up to us to perform,” McGinn said.
“It maybe hadn’t sunk in, the position we were in. But being in lockdown given time for reality to set in and now we’ve got a very important 10-game spell.
“We won 10 in a row at the end of last season and, while we’re not naive enough to think we can do that in the Premier League, we need form like that if we’re to survive.”
That run last spring earned Villa promotion from the Championship through the play-offs, but they have toiled this term.
Last summer, they were one of the biggest-spending clubs in world football, investing more than £118m in 12 new players.
Scotland international McGinn – who has been out since December with an ankle injury but is now fully fit – believes such upheaval has contributed to their struggles.
“It’s been a tough season,” the 25-year-old told BBC Scotland’s Scottish football podcast.
“We spent a lot of money but it takes people time to adapt to the culture and the style of the league.
“The break might have helped them work on their English and familiarise themselves with Birmingham because they couldn’t go anywhere else.
“Having this date gives us all something to work towards now and, although it will be strange behind closed doors, the importance is still the same for us.”
Listen to more from McGinn on the Scottish football podcast from around 12:30 BST on Friday