With Aston Villa storming up the Championship table and securing our Play-Off spot for the 2018/19 campaign, it’s understandable that some fans will be ruing the run of form we had during December and January.
Undoubtedly it clicked for us when Jack Grealish returned to fitness and quickly found his form and although he played a key role in our run of ten successive victories, other players stepped up to the plate and increased their own form and we all know how decent performances have been in the main and the better balance we now have at both ends of the pitch.
Speaking to the Official Site in Thursday’s pre-game press conference, Smith admitted that those two months had cost us hugely when it came to a proper run at the automatic promotion spots.
We all know how injuries hit us across that period, and without wishing to open some old debates, fans will be well aware of where the blame can be apportioned as it was an avoidable situation.
“I’ve always been an optimist by nature, and I’ve always believed in the squad of players we’ve got. We’ve had moments where it seemed unlikely, no doubt. Towards the end of December and through January, when we had three of our four defenders who were right-backs, results weren’t coming. We didn’t lose many, but we didn’t win some we should have. Ultimately, that probably cost us finishing in the top two. But our run has catapulted us into the Play-Offs with two games to spare. That’s a tribute to the effort of these players.”