The versatile attacking midfielder/forward joined Villa on loan in January and spent the second half of last season at Villa Park, making four appearances in the Premier League.
Villa went through some tough times last term but ended up five points clear of the relegation zone after winning five and drawing two of their last 10 matches.
After a bright start and 3-1 win at Arsenal on opening day, Villa lost narrowly to high-flying Chelsea and Liverpool, then suffered a home defeat to Newcastle before recovering with a fine 1-0 win at Norwich on Saturday.
As we prepare for tonight's Capital One Cup third round tie at Villa Park (7.45pm), Simon expects Villa to progress after last season’s experience.
“They had to get through last season,” said Simon. “There are a lot of young players there who have experienced a relegation battle, got through it and that can only make them stronger.
“Now they are growing as a group and I expect them to do well this season.
“Last season didn’t really reflect the quality there as a squad and this time around they’ve had a tough opening few fixtures but got off to a better start.
“It’s a huge club and it was a fantastic experience for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.”