Aston Villa

Dean Smith considering 19-year-old loanee to ease defensive issues

Dean Smith considering 19-year-old loanee to ease defensive issues

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith could be tempted to recall Mitch Clark from his loan spell at Port Vale next month as the gaffer looks to give his side every chance of strengthening their defence.

Villa have been excellent in attack since Smith took charge of the club in October but at the back they have struggled to keep clean-sheets with only Axel Taunzebe and James Chester available as the recognised centre-backs in the squad.

But the Birmingham Live reports that Smith was in attendance to watch Clark in action for the Villa u-23’s on Monday evening as they lost 3-2 to Stoke City u-23.

Clark is allowed to feature for Villa’s reserve team, despite being committed to Port Vale for the season. The 19-year-old however, made a return to the Villains’ first-team as a substitute on Saturday in a draw with Cheltenham Town following a hamstring injury he suffered in November.

Monday’s clash though presented Clark with a good opportunity to show his return to fitness as he got a full 45 minutes in the first-half before being replaced by Jake Walker.

Manager Smith though, can recall Clark from his loan when the January transfer window opens in two weeks. His defenders will however first have to face a massive test on Sunday when they host league leaders Leeds United at Villa Park in what promises to be a cracking encounter.

The likes of Taunzebe and Chester will need to be at their best if they were to keep the patient and composed attack of the Whites out. The match will also give Smith a further idea as to if he urgently needs to call upon someone like Clark.

Nonetheless, the addition of Clark will certainly boost the squad depth and provide cover should one of the two current centre-backs get injured.

Villa have been linked with a move for either Gary Cahill or Ethan Ampadu from Chelsea in the January market but will have to do something special to convince Blues boss Maurizio Sarri if they were to get one of them on loan.

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