A new era has begun at Aston Villa following the appointment of Brentford boss Dean Smith.
Smith has inherited a side that have failed to impress thus far this season and the Villains currently find themselves languishing in mid-table obscurity.
The former Walsall boss will be under pressure to ring the changes in an attempt to reverse the club’s fortunes, which could provide a lifeline for players on the fringes of the first-team.
Villa’s squad is a large one and we’ll be taking a look at three fringe players that could feature more prominently under Smith.
The 26-year-old was an expensive addition to the squad, costing the club a staggering £12m. After overcoming injury to make a promising start to life in the Midlands, Hogan’s progress has stalled after more injury problems and a lack of opportunities under Steve Bruce, who he recently slammed. Hogan is a player that Smith knows well from the pair’s time at Brentford and the Republic of Ireland international will be hoping to feature more prominently in the new regime.
Since making his Villa debut as a 16-year-old, Hepburn-Murphy is another player whose progress stalled under Steve Bruce. Now 20, he has appeared sporadically for three years but will now be looking to kick on and impress new boss Smith. A potent forward with bags of potential, he is a regular within the England youth-set-up and has been knocking on the door of the Villa first-team for long enough. The appointment of Smith could prove to be the change the forward needed to happen.
Bolasie was considered an impressive coup when he arrived on a season-long loan deal from Everton, but the winger is yet to start a game for his new club. The 29-year-old has appeared from the bench on several occasions, but will be hoping to feature from the start more often under Smith and demonstrate his undoubted ability.