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Smith will be eager to watch Clark’s battle with Maja this weekend

(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

Aston Villa

Smith will be eager to watch Clark’s battle with Maja this weekend

New Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has inherited a squad with problems at the back.

The defence is the priority area that needs to be addressed at Aston Villa as we edge closer to the January window.

Smith needs to decide whether to sign new players or make use of his current options.

That could include recalling some players from their loan spells, such as Tommy Elphick at Hull City or Mitch Clark at Port Vale.

Smith will be eagerly casting his eye over Clark in this weekend’s FA Cup game against Sunderland.


Port Vale host the Black Cats at Vale Park on Sunday and Clark is set for a major test.

Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

He could come up against Josh Maja, who has already struck nine goals this season and is in fine form.

Jerome Sinclair, on loan from Watford, will also be hoping to impress while Sunderland have plenty of talented players in midfield.

Wherever Clark plays in the defence, he will be challenged. And this will be a good test to see if he is capable of stepping up to the Aston Villa first-team just yet.

The 19-year-old is widely considered to be one of Aston Villa’s best young players.

And if can keep Maja and his Sunderland team-mates at bay with a good performance, then the Wales under-19 international will be knocking on the first-team door.

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