Date: 20th November 2018 at 8:30pm
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Dean Smith has a selection headache ahead of Aston Villa’s clash with Birmingham City, with Neil Taylor a doubt for Sunday’s meeting. The 29-year-old was brought off against Derby County on November 10 and was forced to withdraw from the Wales squad due to injury. He may not return in time for Villa’s weekend outing, meaning Smith has to pick a replacement.

Steve Bruce was heavily criticised by supporters for his poor squad-building and frequently putting players out of position, but Smith might have to replicate his tactical decisions against Birmingham. On Vital Villa, we already discussed the prospect of Mile Jedinak starting at centre-back, but now Hutton could have to feature at left-back.

Jordan Amavi was sold to Olympique Marseille in July 2018 and was never replaced, putting pressure on Neil Taylor to play every possible game at left-back. Villa could solve their problem in January, but Smith needs a short-term solution.

If Hutton starts at left-back, Ahmed Elmohamady is likely to replace him on the right. Jedinak partnering Axel Tuanzebe at centre-back would be a gamble, but Smith doesn’t have much choice after Bruce opted to loan out Tommy Elphick at the start of the season.

Crippy Cooke’s previous article

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