Villa have won three and drawn two of Bruce's five games in charge to swiftly climb the table, while Chris Hughton's Brighton have racked up an impressive 26 points from a possible 30 on offer in their last 10 league games to sit second
"I think they've won four on the spin," Bruce told Villa's official website
"They've got some good players and as a group and a team, they seem to be really together and they've had a good couple of years at it now.
"They were very unfortunate and were dealt a cruel blow last year in the play-offs in particular
They're going to be there or thereabouts.
"That's the yardstick, we know what we're up against, but we've done okay ourselves recently."
Villa were 19th in the table when former Birmingham and Hull boss Bruce replaced Roberto Di Matteo last month, but are now five points off the play-off places.
"I've really enjoyed it and people have made it very comfortable for me," he added
"W e're desperate to try and get back on track
"A few results help that
I've only been here six weeks but I'm really enjoying it
I enjoy the environment I work in, there's some very good people
"Let's hope we carry on winning because that always helps."
Bruce will be without banned striker Ross McCormack and will assess Jordan Amavi and Leandro Bacuna after recent knocks.
Midfielder Mile Jedinak, Jonathan Kodjia and Jordan Ayew will also be monitored after returning from international duty, while Micah Richards (calf) remains a doubt and Ritchie de Laet (knee) is out for the season
Hughton's side, three points adrift of leaders Newcastle, have established a formidable record at the Amex Stadium since the start of 2016
The Seagulls lost to Wolves on New Year's Day but have gone on to win 13 of their subsequent 18 home matches, drawing four and losing only one, 2-0 to Brentford in early September
Anthony Knockaert will return to Brighton's squad after missing the 2-0 win over Bristol City prior to the international break following the death of his father
Forward Richie Towell and winger Kazenga LuaLua are on the mend after knee problems, but m idfielder Beram Kayal remains sidelined due to an ankle injury
Brighton revealed on Thursday night that assistant manager Colin Calderwood had resigned to "take up a new position elsewhere".
The 51-year-old had been placed on gardening leave last Saturday and reports have suggested he is set to join Bruce's coaching team at Villa
Source : PA