A mix of experience, youthful exuberance and a bit of rotation should be on the cards tomorrow, regardless of whether Dean Smith wants a cup run or not.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
Aston Villa face Swansea City in the FA Cup tomorrow and a number of fans have already called for certain players to be rested or involved.
We know that Tammy Abraham won’t be available due to a prior agreement with Chelsea that can’t pay in cup games, and we know that youngster Easah Sulimah won’t have international clearance since his return from FC Emmen in the Netherlands.
As well as that, Orjan Nyland, Jack Grealish and Axel Tuanzebe are all sidelined with injuries.
We’ve picked our starting eleven for the cup game tomorrow, and we’ve ensured there’s been rotation, youthful exuberance and experience in the side.
Goalkeeper – Lovre Kalinic
Croatian international Lovre Kalinic has spent his first week at the club and is available for selection in tomorrow’s game.
It would be good to get Kalinic, who looks set to be between the sticks for the remainder of the season, accustomed to the English game – and who better to face than a league rival?
Right-back – James Bree
James Bree has enjoyed his longest spell in the side to date and should continue to be given opportunities after impressing against Queens Park Rangers earlier in the week.
Centre-back – Tommy Elphick
Tommy Elphick had been performing well for Hull in the first half of the season, and didn’t really do much wrong against Queens Park Rangers.
He could do with another game in the side to continue to acclimatise back into the squad and get used to the way that Dean Smith wants the side to play.
Centre-back – Dominic Revan
With Axel Tuanzebe injured, and ever present James Chester playing through a knee injury – it’d be good to give the captain a game on the sidelines for once.
Revan has been involved in the match day squad for a number of weeks and has been training with the first team – so it makes sense to let fans see what the youngster is like, and give him an opportunity in the first team when there’s not three points hanging in the balance.
Left-Back – Neil Taylor
Neil Taylor has been sidelined of late with a hamstring injury, but has been training with the squad for the past week.
This would give 34-year-old Alan Hutton a rest and Neil Taylor some game time to try and get some sharpness back before the next league game.
Centre-Mid – Birkir Bjarnason
Birkir Bjarnason has only recently come back into the fray after having groin surgery, and still looks a little off the pace.
Giving Birkir some time in the squad would be a smart move – especially as the Icelandic midfielder was first choice in the holding role in Smith’s first few games in charge.
Centre-Mid – Henri Lansbury
Perhaps this could be the final chance for Henri Lansbury at the club.
Since joining from Nottingham Forest, he’s not exactly set the Holte End alight.
He did make a short appearance in one game this season, leaving the pitch after eight minutes in the Second City Derby.
If he doesn’t impress, it could be all Smith needs to decide whether he’ll remain at the club or not.
Attacking-Mid – Callum O’Hare
The young starlet has been likened to Jack Grealish in his style of play, and made a few appearances under Steve Bruce’s tenure.
His chances in the first team have been limited to the bench so far this season, but it makes perfect sense to allow Callum to attempt to show his creativity in a role coveted by Grealish whilst he’s injured.
Right Wing – Albert Adomah
Albert is another player who’s recently coming back from injury and has played a bit part since he was taken off earlier in the year.
Getting him back into the squad, and potentially giving him confidence would be worthwhile.
Left Wing – Anwar El Ghazi
In the game against West Bromwich Albion and the game before that, Anwar El Ghazi was playing so well that he’d earned himself a new chant from the fans.
But since then, he’s struggled to reach the heights that he’d been hitting and could do with the opportunity to get back to full confidence.
Forward – Scott Hogan
Dean Smith should give Scott Hogan at least an hour on the pitch – as he’s played nothing but the odd ten minutes at the end of a game.
When he’s played, the former Brentford man – who’s form under Dean Smith gave Steve Bruce the warrant to spend £12,000,000 on him – has looked sprightly, and according to Smith, he’s training incredibly well.
In regards to substitutes, the likes of Jake Doyle-Hayes and Keinan Davis – who has not played in the first team this season – should be given game time too.