By Graham Hill
VILLA boss Dean Smith admits he is struggling to find a place for returning midfielder John McGinn at Blues on Sunday.
The Scot is available again after serving a two match suspension.
But he finds himself having to battle for a start at St Andrew’s after Villa’s dominant display against Derby last Saturday.
With Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane and Glenn Whelan all starring in the middle of the park, Smith says it is difficult to know where McGinn fits in.
Smith told the Villa’s online TV channel: “At half-time on Saturday we were in the coaches room looking at some clips to show the players before we went into the dressing room.
“One of our analysts showed me our second goal, and the movement and quality of it.
“I thought straight away: ‘Bloody hell, it’s going to be hard to get John McGinn back into this team’, which prompted some laughs.
“But it’s nice to have that problem again. We haven’t had it for a while.:
Smith concedes though that he stretched in defence with Tommy Elphick’s foot injury ruling him out for six weeks.
John McGinn’s wonder goal against Sheffield Wednesday this season: Courtesy of You Tube
The Villa boss added: “We’ve had a lot of injury issues this season, and we haven’t really spoken them that much.
“We’ve had our goalkeepers missing, centre-halves missing and more. Tommy Elphick will be now, too, alongside Alan Hutton. It’s been stop-start and a tough period in that sense.
“So it’s nice to have that problem again now to try and get John back into a midfield that played so well against Derby.
“Throw Tom Carroll into that mix, and it’s a real selection headache.”
Smith knows the Blues derby is a special game – but he has to view it as another step towards reviving Villa’s play-off ambitions.
He said: “The result last weekend gives us a lot of belief and confidence going into it.
“We’re away from home, but we don’t fear anyone, despite having full respect for them.
“I played with Garry Monk and know him well. He’s done a good job there this season, but it’s just another game.”