By Phil Jennings
DEAN SMITH is planning to ruin his uncle’s birthday when Villa take on Albion in the play-offs.
Smith’s family is divided between Baggies and Villa fans.
He grew up in Sandwell and is used to the rivalry with Albion – more than with Blues.
The fact that the semi-final tie produced a meeting between two of the clubs that played a major part in Smith’s life when he was growing up is a co-incidence.
And the fact that it will be two local derbies on Saturday and Tuesday means there is more of an unpredictable nature with any sort of form going out of the window.
Smith told reporters about his background and why there is such a divide in his family.
The Villa boss explained: “My old man’s local, the Red Admiral, it’s not there anymore, was a Villa/West Brom pub.
“The rivalry certainly at my school was very much Villa and West Brom rather than Birmingham. Blues were in the division below then anyway which didn’t help.
“It’s my uncle’s birthday. He’s an Albion fan but he won’t be going to the game because they’re away for the weekend.
“My cousin and his daughter are coming over from the States. They’re big Villa fans, They’re flying in from Philadelphia.”
But Smith refused to confirm talk of him being in line to take over as Albion manager 12 months ago when the club were looking for a permanent successor to Alan Pardew.
In the end, it was Darren Moore who got the job but Smith did not add any more to the speculation that he was ready to leave Brentford for The Hawthorns.
Smith added: “I’m from the area so you hear the rumours. But unless you hear anything from a club, you concentrate on your own job and I was Brentford manager.”