Smith: I have tough calls to make

By Graham Hill

VILLA boss Dean Smith says he will not be afraid to ‘upset people’ when he makes his team selections for the Play-offs.

Smith will take a virtually fully fit squad into the end of season ties which will decide whether Villa can make it back to the Premier League.

And despite the astonishing run of results that have taken Villa to this stage of the season, there has been barely a game when Smith has not had a gap to fill through injury, illness or suspension.

But Smith had the rare luxury of being able to rest key players against Norwich last week.

And it means the lies of player of the year John McGinn and skipper Jack Grealish will go into the Albion game fresh after two weeks off.

But that also creates a selection headache in most areas of the team.

And Smith says he is ready to let people down ahead of the two legs against Albion.

The Villa boss told reporters: “We’re in good shape. Hard decisions? That’s the tough bit now because you have to upset people.

“But I’ve been doing that for the last 400 games or so. As a head coach or manager you have to upset people.

“I’d much rather them be upset than them be happy. I’ll sit down with the coaching staff. I’ve got a team in my head. We’ll sit down and decide on the 18.”

And Smith insists there has been no talk of getting to final yet.

Villa made it there last year under Steve Bruce after beating Middlesbrough in the semis.

But Smith added: “We’ve not talked about Wembley at all.

“We’ve got two big games to get over. They’re both going to be really tough games. We’re not even looking towards to that at all. It’s one game at a time and they don’t come harder than West Brom at home.”

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