By Graham Hill
FORMER Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie says Dean Smith needs to be given time in the top flight if he guides his side to promotion.
Villa reached the Championship play-off final on Tuesday night with victory over West Brom in a penalty shoot-out at The Hawthorns.
And now, like last year, they stand one game away from the Premier League.
But Hendrie says Villa’s owners must not get trigger happy if a return to the top flight does not bring automatic success.
He believes the club have ‘gambled’ too much on managers in a disastrous few years that saw Villa relegated and spent three years in the Championship.
To avoid a fourth, Smith must win at Wembley.
But whatever happens, Hendrie says they have the right man in Villa fan Smith.
Hendrie told Sky Sports News: “It’s so important now for Villa.
“You look back over several seasons and they’ve had a host of different managers.
“They’ve gambled on so many and it just hasn’t paid off.
“Time limited managers have come into the club and tried to bring in their own philosophy and it just hasn’t worked.
“A club like Villa needs someone with a solid foundation. But when Dean came in, did I think that was a gamble? No.
“He did fantastically at Brentford. Would I see Villa’s a completely different club? Yes, because Villa’s massive. No disrespect to Brentford but you’re taking on a whole host of big names.
“There’s a lot of history here and Dean’s come in and done a fantastic job.
“He hit the ground running then went on a bit of a bad run.
“But that was just down to the sheer injuries he had at the time. Now people are coming back and he brought in signings like Tyrone Mings, Kortney Hause, and he knows he has an attacking threat. That’s how Dean works. “Now it’s just a matter a of time before he takes Villa back into the Premier League which will hopefully be this time. It’s been a fantastic appointment and Dean’s been an immense manager. He’s done wonders.”