Date: 1st February 2019 at 6:00am
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Aston Villa were very active on deadline day, recruiting Tyrone Mings, Frederick Guilbert and Tom Carroll. Guilbert’s arrival was one that perplexed many supporters, however, with the Frenchman being signed on a permanent deal only to be loaned back to his former club for the remainder of the season.

James Bree was also shipped out to Ipswich Town on loan – a move that didn’t go down well among supporters. With Alan Hutton and Ahmed Elmohamady struggling for consistency this season, fans may have been hoping to see replacements brought in for the pair.

But it now appears Dean Smith will finish off the campaign with the ageing fullbacks competing for the right-back spot.

Hutton and Elmohamady aren’t likely to be around in 2019/20, however, as Hutton is out of contract in a matter of months and Elmohamady is likely to be put up for sale when the season finishes. His deal still has 18 months to run, but his advancing age and poor form should make up Smith’s mind.

As Bree wasn’t guaranteed a starting place at Villa, Smith has afforded him the chance to get more minutes at a struggling Ipswich side. He should return over the summer to compete with Guilbert for a place at right-back.  There is a method to the madness…

Crippy Cooke’s previous article

Report: Aston Villa miss out on highly-rated full-back, club unwilling to sell

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