By Kevin Phillips

29th Jan, 2020 | 4:00pm

Exclusive: Phillips suggests late Aston Villa signing may be in pipeline after Smith statement

Kevin Phillips says he thinks there must be a new signing in the pipeline at Aston Villa after Dean Smith’s comments on a late transfer deal.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Villa and England hitman says the manager’s confidence suggests that the ball is already rolling on a new addition before Friday’s deadline.

Smith told the press before Tuesday’s League Cup win over Leicester City that he is “as confident as I can be,” that the club will sign a new forward, with a “list of names we are working on” at Villa Park.

Phillips says that Smith’s comments are hugely encouraging for the Villa Park faithful and he suggests that a deal could be on the cards.

Asked if he thought Smith was hinting at something being close, “I think so. If he’s saying that then I’m certainly not going to argue with him.

“It’s certainly an area they need (to strengthen). They obviously need somebody up there to get them the goals, I would be very surprised (if they didn’t).”

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The Villans have suffered something of a crisis up front in recent weeks, with summer signing Wesley Moraes out injured for the season and Jonathan Kodjia leaving for Qatar earlier this month.

Mbwana Samatta has arrived at Villa Park to try bolster their firepower, the former Genk striker making his debut in the club’s League Cup semi-final win over Leicester on Tuesday evening.

In other Aston Villa news, Kevin Phillips has urged one senior player to hold a crunch meeting after his admission.