Aston Villa will be looking to win promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs in less than a fortnight, after defeating West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night.
The Villans became the first team to book their place at Wembley for the play-off final, and are now just one win away from making a long-awaited return to the grandest stage of English football.
Dean Smith deserves a huge amount of credit for the job he has done at Villa Park thus far – he arrived at the club when they were in turmoil, and everybody had written off their play-off chances in around February time.
But 11 wins in 14 games later, Villa look to be the most feared team going into the final, where they will face one of Leeds United or Derby County who battle it out on Wednesday night.
Regardless of which division Villa find themselves in next season, Smith will have to be busy in the summer transfer window in order to strengthen his side and make them better going forward.
Tyrone Mings and Axel Tuanzebe will return to their parent clubs, whilst the Villans will face a real fight to keep hold of the likes of Jack Grealish and John McGinn.
One player who could now be available at a cut-price compared to the last time Villa were interested, is Mansfield Town’s CJ Hamilton, who is surely destined for bigger and better things despite a disappointing end to the 2018/19 campaign.
The winger has been influential for the Stags this season, scoring 14 goals and producing six assists for the Nottinghamshire side in their promotion push.
It has turned out to be a disappointing season for Mansfield – they first missed out on automatic promotion on the final day of the campaign, and then lost in the play-off semi-final which has ultimately cost David Flitcroft his job at the One Call Stadium.
Hamilton was a target for the likes of Villa and West Brom in January, and with Mansfield staying in the fourth tier for yet another year, it’s about time that the 24-year old made the step-up.
A fast, direct winger, Hamilton would definitely add some much-needed long-term competition for Albert Adomah, who is approaching the latter stages of his career.
The way Dean Smith likes his teams to play, Hamilton could turn into an even better player, who will get plenty of the ball and will have the chance to run at defenders with his blistering pace.
He isn’t likely to cost a lot, but Villa should definitely take a risk on this one…