Aston Villa get back into Championship action following defeat to Swansea in the FA Cup last time out, with a trip to the DW Stadium to face Paul Cook’s Wigan Athletic.
Smith must decide whether to thrust new loan signing defender Kortney Hause straight into the fray, following his loan move from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
So should 23-year-old Hause get his Villa debut against Wigan this weekend?
“Not for me.
“He should definitely be in the squad, but the reality is that he is pretty short of match practice.
“I believe he will turn out to be a top signing, but maybe easing him in from the bench, to begin with, would be the smarter move.”
“He should play.
“There might be a question mark over his match fitness, but at least he’s a centre back.
“Alan Hutton isn’t, Mile Jedinak isn’t… I’m surprised they haven’t tried Jed Steer there.
“Get Hause in and playing. Now.”
“I think he should come in with Axel Tuanzebe still out.
“There should be a real buzz about this player at Villa as he improves what’s a shaky defensive unit.
“If Hause and Lovre Kalinic make Smith’s starting XI, expect a Villa victory.”
“If he is fit, then he should play – you wouldn’t bring him in to make up the numbers when the defensive third was an area that needed urgent attention.
“And it still does, considering Villa’s position in the league.
“Kourtney Hause is a promotion winning defender with Wolves, and his temporary stay will want to include a second successive promotion.
“Training is one thing, but seeing how a payer responds in match situations is another.
“Start him; it’s that simple.”