Dean Smith backs Kortney Hause to get better and better at Aston Villa
Dean Smith has backed Kortney Hause to keep getting better and better with the defender now firmly in the groove at Villa.
The Wolves loanee capped a string of impressive performances with his first goal for the club in Wednesday’s 3-1 win at Nottingham Forest.
Hause, who joined in January, had to wait more than a month for his first Villa start, following what Smith described as a “baptism of fire” when he came off the bench in a 3-0 defeat at Wigan.
But he is now rapidly becoming a fan favourite and Smith said: “We always knew the potential was there. We had to bring it out by coaching and making Kortney physically fit as well.
“I think we have done that and people are starting to see the rewards. There is a lot more to come too. He is a player with tremendous potential and still very young.”
Hause, who has switched from left-back to centre-back following an injury to Tommy Elphick, has been part of a defence which has conceded just two goals in the last four games, as Villa have reignited their play-off hopes.
He joined having not played a Championship fixture for more than a year but has steadily gone from strength to strength alongside fellow loanee Tyrone Mings.
Villa have an option to make his switch from Wolves permanent at the end of the season.
“We thought he could have a future at Villa and he’s doing really well,” said Smith.
“He had a tough baptism of fire when we got beat at Wigan and I threw him on in what wasn’t a good performance.
“But he’s got fitter and fitter and he’s getting better with each game.”
Club captain James Chester is facing a pivotal fortnight in his bid to play again this season.
The 30-year-old has not featured since the 2-1 win over Ipswich in late January due to a knee injury which limited his ability to train.
Chester has since undergone a series of injections and is scheduled to resume light training next week.
Smith said: “In terms of this season it is (a pivotal time) to see if we can get Chezzie back.
“He is a really good player and leader around the place. Hopefully things go well for him.
“We are hoping to get him back into light training over the net two weeks and we will see where he goes from there. Hopefully he will not get a reaction from the knee.”