By support

4th Jan, 2017 | 5:32pm

Aston Villa line up move for stand-out player of Championship rivals - report

By Dominic Toner

Aston Villa are interested in signing QPR goalkeeper Alex Smithies, according to a report.

Football website HITC claim that Steve Bruce is set to step up his interest in the 26-year-old as he has made signing a new goalkeeper a priority in the January transfer window.

It is reported that Smithies figures highly on Villa’s wanted list after his impressive performances for QPR this season.

Villa have already experienced first hand the qualities of the goalkeeper after their 1-0 win at QPR in December.

Smithies was in fantastic form during that game and helped his side keep the scoreline down, including saving a penalty from Jonathan Kodjia.

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He has played every single minute for QPR in the Championship this season and is regarded as a crucial player for them.

The Londoners are currently just five points above the drop zone in the league table and could be dragged into a relegation battle if he leaves in January.

Villa have had difficult with their goalkeepers this season and summer signing Pierluigi Gollini has failed to impress.

Manager Steve Bruve has used 32-year-old Mark Bunn in the last four games, but they are still searching for a permanent number one.

Football Insider verdict: 

Villa are desperately crying out for a new goalkeeper this January and Bruce needs to bring someone in if they are to bridge the gap to the play-off places. All of the league’s top sides are built on a strong defence and that is something lacking at Villa Park so far. Smithies is an experienced player in the Championship and could certainly aid the promotion push. The goalkeeper would be a much more calming influence than Gollini or Bunn, who both have mistakes in them. Bruce is the right manager to help the club return to the Premier League and Smithies is proving to be one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the Championship, so his signing is imperative.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club are preparing a bid for a goalscoring midfielder.