After seeing his Aston Villa side fall to a 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace at the weekend, Dean Smith will no doubt be keen to ensure his team get back to winning ways when they take on Spurs tonight.
The Midlands club took the lead on two separate occasions against the Eagles in the first-half, before a late salvo saw Roy Hodgson’s men come away with all three points at Selhurst Park.
Villa were rocked before the game by the news that Tyrone Mings would be unavailable, and in his place, Kortney Hause came in from the wilderness to partner Ezri Konsa at the back.
And while the centre-back had a promising start and could have, and probably should have, scored in the first-half, his rustiness and lack of touch really told after the break when Palace turned the pressure on.
And most importantly, he was beaten by Christian Benteke in the air for one of Palace’s goals, and that lack of sharpness really told in his decision-making.
Writing in his post-match player ratings for The Birmingham Mail, Ashley Preece gave him a five, saying: “In for his first start since December 28 and he started well and perhaps could have scored two as his headers from Traore’s corner sailed just wide of Butland’s post. Hause was good on the deck and fizzed in passes to the likes of Targett and El Ghazi.
“The centre-back was undone for Palace’s equaliser, though, as Benteke timed his jump to perfection to get above Hause before his effort nestled home. Hause was pick-pocketed by Schlupp in the second half as Palace almost took advantage. A bit rusty which was to be expected.”
With Smith confirming in his pre-match press conference that a late fitness check will be made on Tyrone Mings, the Villa boss will be desperately hoping one of his main centre-backs can pass the test and make his comeback against Spurs.
Having a rusty Hause trying to deal with an in-form Harry Kane who’s eyeing up yet another Premier League Golden Boot is a recipe for disaster, and one that could prove very costly for Villa.