Dean Smith warns Villa to be wary of a West Brom bounce under Sam Allardyce
Boss Dean Smith has warned Aston Villa to expect a reaction from Sam Allardyce’s West Brom.
Villa go to The Hawthorns on Sunday with Allardyce in charge of the Baggies for the first time.
He replaced the sacked Slaven Bilic on Wednesday to return to management after two-and-a-half years away.
Second bottom Albion have won just one of their opening 13 games and are three points from the Premier League safety line but Smith believes they will be a different proposition under the former England boss.
He said: “He’ll certainly have his team scampering around. First and foremost, I’m disappointed for Slaven Bilic, who did a fantastic job getting West Brom promoted. It’s unfortunate for him.
“But when someone goes out, someone comes in and it’s Big Sam. If you’ve managed over 500 games in the Premier Legaue you’re doing something very well.
“Fortunately for us, we’ve got a man in my staff who has worked alongside him (Craig Shakespeare) so he’ll certainly have an insight into what Sam will do very early at West Brom.
“I think everything evolves but I’m sure Sam knows as well as me the idea is to stop the opposition getting the ball into your net and create chances to get the ball into the other net.
“It’s a simple game sometimes made more difficult by coaches. He certainly knows how to win games.”
It is mid-table Villa’s second derby of the season after their 1-0 win at Wolves this month.
The game at Molineux was desperately lacking an atmosphere with the West Midlands in tier three amid the on-going coronavirus pandemic.
Clubs are still unable to host fans with Smith conceding the encounters are not the same.
He said: “Derbies have changed because of the lack of fans, if I’m honest. I don’t think there is that intensity or the adrenaline that you can get from the supporters.
“But all my players know it will be a local derby. We’ve not been there since we were in the play-off semi-final (winning on penalties). We’re looking forward to going there.
“They’ve struggled a little this season with their results but they’ve got some very good players and we know Sam going in there will give them a boost.
“But I’m not too disappointed with our own performance going into the game, to be honest.”