Date: 16th March 2019 at 12:00pm
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Dean Smith was full of praise for Ahmed Elmohamady with the Aston Villa defender impressing in recent weeks. Elmohamady replaced the injured Alan Hutton and has overcome his poor form to become an important part of their resilient defence of late.

Since Hutton’s injury, Villa have conceded just one goal in three games and could move into the Championship playoffs if results go their way over the weekend. The Midlands outfit lock horns with Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon and Elmohamady should start at right-back.

Smith said to Villa’s official website: “He went through – and he’ll be the first to admit – a sticky period just pre-Christmas and post-Christmas when we were going through a period of playing three right-backs in a back four.

“He made a couple of mistakes for goals but I’ve never questioned his professionalism and quality. He’s put in some very assured displays. Very rarely does he give you any less than a seven out of ten. Our supporters have certainly taken him to heart over the past few games.”

The 31-year-old has made 31 appearances in all competitions this season, scoring and creating eight goals. Elmohamady has made two assists in his last three appearances and has diligently done his defensive duties with five tackles and two interceptions in 270 minutes of football.

His future at Villa Park is uncertain, however, as Frederic Guilbert and James Bree will provide competition at right-back next season. Smith could be moving on the club’s ageing players in favour of some fresh blood, but Elmohamady is confounding his critics.

The defender has another year on his contract, but whether Smith wants to retain him for one more season remains to be seen.

Read Crippy Cooke’s previous article

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