Tyrone Mings has been shining at the heart of Aston Villa’s backline following his January loan move from Bournemouth, and the onus will be on him even more to step up and deliver in the second city derby against Birmingham City on Sunday.
The Midlands club came into 2019 with a lack of centre-back options but the move to bring the 25-year-old to Villa Park has proved to be a fruitful one, even if he has already been involved in a controversial incident with Reading’s Nelson Oliveira.
However, the generally positive impact he has made in his six Championship appearances to date, as well as the fact that Tommy Elphick is out against the Blues through injury, means that he is expected to put in a strong performance at the weekend.
He will need to do that no matter who partners him at St Andrew’s – whether it be Kortney Hause, Neil Taylor or Mile Jedinak – seeing as he is set to come up against the February SkyBet Championship Player of the Month in Che Adams.
Adams has netted 10 goals in 10 league games since the turn of the year, but they have dried up recently seeing as he hasn’t scored in his previous two appearances for the Blues.
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Nevertheless, he has the pace, power and movement to cause what could be a makeshift Villa defence plenty of problems, and Mings will need to be on his game to counteract his threat.
The Cherries loanee has shown his strength, power, speed and passion already, and is a player that looks to be ready-made for these sorts of occasions – he can win the big battle this weekend.
Dean Smith will be hoping that the 25-year-old also takes it upon himself to be a leader for the team on Sunday, in order to bring home a much-needed three points.