Aston Villa boss Dean Smith admits six teams are in danger of Premier League relegation
Dean Smith says Aston Villa are now in a game of relegation Russian roulette – any three from six.
The Villa boss draws a line under Southampton for the candidates who will be scrapping for survival as the gun chamber spins.
Smith’s men are next to bottom, but with only a point separating four sides, he’s confident Villa can scramble to safety.
The 1-1 draw at Newcastle made it two points in the bag since the big re-start following the 0-0 draw with Sheffield United.
Smith said: “I always thought it was three from six to be honest. I couldn’t see Southampton getting dragged into it and that win over Norwich pretty much put them safe.
“The only thing we’ve been missing is a win but the fact that teams around us have been losing has helped close the gap.”
Next up it’s the big Midlands derby game with Wolves and Smith is hoping midfielder John McGinn can take another huge step towards getting back to somewhere near his best.
The Scotland international even being back is a boost because he was originally out for the season after breaking his ankle when he fell awkwardly in the 3-1 defeat to Southampton just before Christmas.
Smith said: “He’s getting there but it would be remiss of me to expect him to be at the levels he was before the injury
“It’s a bit like Harry Kane at Tottenham. Six months out of the game is a long time and they have to get that match sharpness back.
“That’s what John is working hard to do. He’s put in some half-decent performances but it’s hard to judge him on them.”
Smith said the way the season had broken off had left him with no option other than to throw one of his star performers straight back in and get on with it.
He added: “We had not time to do otherwise. One of the things I will have to manage is whether he is playing too much. He will be the first to stick his hand up and say but the good news is that he doesn’t feel the injury at all now.
“It is just about expanding his lung capacity and his legs at the moment and for to be getting that touch and feel back.”