Aston Villa manager Dean Smith claims that the team has to adapt to several challenges that may come their way. Just after the international break, Aston Villa head back into the domestic competitions to take on a local rival in the form of Birmingham City. It is a game of great magnitude for Smith, who has just replaced Steve Bruce as the new Villa boss. After having picked up a crucial 3-0 success over Derby County in one of the best performances of the season, Smith will have reasons to be confident that his team can do well in this first Midlands derby experience for him as a manager at Villa.
Smith does not expect the free-flowing football seen at Pride Park to be repeated in this game because local derbies are always extremely difficult. Furthermore, Birmingham have also been in a good frame of mind over the last few months and this has enabled them to make up several places in the league table. Aston Villa, though, last suffered a loss against Birmingham back in 2005 and they have since been unbeaten in 12 matches against their local rivals. The difference between the two clubs in the Championship this season’s only goal difference. Smith does not have a lot of injury problems but the club’s preparation has been affected by internationals.
“Not all games will be like Derby because teams play differently.“ I went to see Birmingham play at Derby the week before we played there and they played totally different.“You have to come up with different ways to beat different teams. We are still a work in progress. We haven’t had loads of time. I have only been here a month,” said Smith. “The promotion race is“ once again back on at Aston Villa after plenty of struggles for consistency under Bruce.