Aston Villa braced for hectic finish to January transfer window

Villa are braced for a hectic finish to the transfer window as boss Dean Smith begins to stamp his mark on the playing squad.

Scott Hogan is among those players who could depart.
Scott Hogan is among those players who could depart.

Smith wants to bring in at least a left-back and midfielder before Thursday’s deadline, with Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings still a prime target.

Departures are likely too, with under-23s Callum O’Hare a loan target for League Two Carlisle United.

There is also uncertainty over the futures of Birkir Bjarnason and Scott Hogan after they were left out of the matchday squad for Saturday’s 2-1 win over Ipswich.

Both could now leave, either permanently or on loan, should Villa receive appropriate offers and bring in the reinforcements they desire.

Striker Hogan, who has played just 68 minutes in the Championship all season, is attracting interest from both Bristol City and Sheffield United.

Midfielder Bjarnason had started Villa’s previous three league fixtures but struggled for form before being axed completely at the weekend. The Iceland international now finds himself behind Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak in the pecking order.

John McGinn has, meanwhile, urged Villa to use Saturday’s win over Ipswich to kick-start a promotion push.

The nervy triumph over the Championship’s bottom club was Villa’s first win for a month and moved them to within four points of the top six, ahead of next weekend’s trip to Reading.

McGinn said: “Sometimes it doesn’t matter how it happens. You just need to get the win over the line.

“We did that. The manager was keen on stressing how we need to use this to spring up the league and we are determined to do that.

“There are 17 games left and they are all cup finals now. There is no hiding away from the fact we can’t afford to drop as many points as the other teams can.

“We need to start showing we deserve to be at a big club like this. It demands success and we want to be part of that. We need to continue at Reading where we left off on Saturday.”

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