Dean Smith will be forced into making a chance at right-back ahead of Saturday’s clash at Middlesbrough, with Alan Hutton expected to miss out for Aston Villa due to suspension. Birmingham Live revealed that Hutton picked up his fifth yellow card in the Championship – in Wednesday’s 5-5 draw with Nottingham Forest – which means he’ll be absent against Tony Pulis’ side.
The Scotland international will be available to play after Saturday’s fixture, however, but Ahmed Elmohamady may have to temporarily deputise in his stead over the weekend. It will be the first league game Hutton has missed this season, with the 34-year-old operating at left-back, centre-back and right-back under Steve Bruce and Smith.
Ahead of their trip to the Riverside Stadium, Villa find themselves eighth in the Championship with 28 points from 19 games. The Midlands outfit have picked up three wins and a draw from their last four outings, but Middlesbrough are no slouches. Pulis’ side are five places and seven points better off than Villa in the table and have the best defensive record (10) by some distance.
Boro have only lost two games all season and are currently enjoying a run of seven games unbeaten. Elmohamady will be in for a difficult outing on Saturday if Smith selects him.