Experienced defender could help Aston Villa’s promotion bid next season

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has confirmed that Alan Hutton has met a clause in his contract which entitles him to another year at the club, reports the Birmingham Mail.

What’s the word?

Hutton has been a Villa player for the past five-and-a-half years, and during that time has been shipped out on loan three times.

This season, the 32-year-old has been an important figure in the back line and has even kept out right-back James Bree, who joined Villa from Barnsley in January.

In Friday’s press conference, Bruce confirmed that Hutton is eligible for a contract extension, and the Birmingham Mail claim that talks are underway regarding fresh terms.

Bruce told reporters:

“Alan Hutton picks himself. He rises to the challenge all the time and has seen plenty of right-backs off. The one thing about Alan Hutton is he trains like it is his last day.

“He is the first player at the training ground and there are times when things don’t go his way but he rises to whatever challenge is there. For his attitude and the way he goes about his job, that’s why the supporters warm to him. What he sees is what you get.”

How important is Hutton?

This season the right-back has started 23 Championship games and has come off the bench in another.

He has also provided one assist in the league and has proven to his manager that he deserves to stay on next season.

Villa’s bid to return to the Premier League looks unlikely to come to fruition this season as they reside 16 places off the playoff spots in 15th place.

While Hutton may not be able to influence a promotion challenge in this campaign, his experience could prove to be vital next season.

The fight to return to the top flight will be even harder in the 2017-18 campaign, particularly as the three clubs that drop into the second tier will be determined to bounce back instantly.

Considering that the likes of Crystal Palace, Sunderland and even Leicester City could join Villa in next season’s hunt for promotion, the chances of success are slimmer.

That is why a player of Hutton’s experience could be crucial in keeping Villa focused on the job at hand.