Dean Smith backs Neil Cutler to improve Aston Villa goalkeepers

Dean Smith reckons Villa’s goalkeepers will reap the benefits of working with new coach Neil Cutler.

Neil Cutler (right) talks to Orjan Nyland during Friday's game with Bolton.
Neil Cutler (right) talks to Orjan Nyland during Friday's game with Bolton.

The 42-year-old last week became Smith’s first signing when he made the switch from rivals Albion to become part of the new head coach’s backroom team.

Cutler previously worked under Smith at Walsall, where he earned a reputation for improving goalkeepers – including Richard O’Donnell and Neil Etheridge, the latter of whom now plays for Cardiff in the Premier League.

Villa have struggled for consistency between the sticks, with current No.1 Orjan Nyland experiencing fluctuating form since his summer switch from German club FC Ingolstadt.

The Norwegian is one of four keepers who have been used in all competitions, along with Mark Bunn, Andre Moreira and Jed Steer, who is now on loan at Charlton.

Smith expects Cutler to bring about an improvement.

He said: “Neil is a very good coach. For me, he will improve goalkeepers.

“There were a list of three or four name I gave the club. They did their due diligence and went through the process.

“He is certainly very good at his job and we are pleased to have him on board.”

Nyland, who has started all of Smith’s four games in charge, will continue in goal for Saturday’s trip to Derby.

The 27-year-old recorded his third clean sheet of the season in Friday’s 2-0 win over Bolton, despite some nervy moments.

Smith said: “He kept a clean sheet which will give him an awful lot of confidence.

“He spilled one in the first-half and then recovered it. There another one when he wasn’t sure, ended up going for it and gave the corner away.

“Clean sheets give you confidence. I have been here for four games and he has conceded three goals. He was maybe questionable for the first goal at Norwich. Other than that I think he has done well.”

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