Aston Villa manager Dean Smith says he “can add” James Collins “to the squad” to solve their centre-back problem. Tommy Elphick’s temporary departure for Hull City has left Smith short, with only James Chester and Axel Tuanzebe the only natural options left.
Midfielder Mile Jedinak and fullback Alan Hutton have been makeshift centre-backs under former manager Steve Bruce, but Smith doesn’t want square pegs in round holes. Collins, who has played for Villa in the past, could provide experience in the backline but he’s someway short of being ready to feature.
Collins has been training with the Villans over the summer after his release from West Ham United and could sign a short-term contract until the end of the season as the Midlands outfit are short on natural options.
Smith did concede that Collins needs to improve his fitness before he’d consider signing the Welsh international, however. It’s likely the defender could re-joined Villa when he’s improved his condition.
As per Birmingham Live, Smith said: “James is not fit at the moment so he’s going through his rehab to get himself fit. We’ll take it from there after that. Everybody knows our lack of centre-backs so I think it is right to keep him around us.
“It was Steve (Bruce) who brought him in here for the same reason. We’ll keep him around us and see what fitness levels he can get to. He’s an out-of-contract player so he’s one we can add to the squad if need be.”
Villa have had a testing start to the season. The Midlands outfit are currently 17th in the Championship with 18 points from 15 games, having lost three of their last four games.
Stats from Transfermarkt.