The former West Ham United defender has been training with the Championship since leaving the London club as a free agent, and is currently looking to reach full fitness following a hamstring problem earlier in the month.
Collins was close to getting signed while former boss Steve Bruce was still in charge, but he now has to start all over again and convince Smith, Richard O’Kelly and John Terry that he is deserving of a deal.
Given what the 35-year-old brings to the table, there is no doubt that Aston Villa will most likely hand him a permanent contract, and such a move could prove to be Smith’s first masterstroke as Villa boss.
After shipping 20 league goals in 12 games, managing to keep just one clean sheet and winning just thrice, it’s obvious that the squad could do with some defensive reinforcements.
With his 18 years of experience, Collins brings something similar (leadership et al) to what Terry brought to the team last season, and he seems like a perfect short-term solution to their defensive woes.
James Chester is the only recognised centre-half Villa can boast of at the moment, and while the trio of Mile Jedinak, Axel Tuanzebe and James Bree can fill in as makeshifts, a player of Collins’ status will surely provide a better service.
The Welsh established himself as a West Ham legend after spending nine seasons at the London club, and a return to Villa Park, where he earlier spent three seasons, could see him write his name into the club’s folklore, especially if he ends up helping them back to the Premier League.