By Darren Bent

19th Jan, 2021 | 4:00pm

Exclusive: Top pundit raises 'Massive' Aston Villa concern pre-Man City

The threat of a crowded fixture list will be “massively” concerning for Aston Villa after a Covid-19 outbreak shut the training ground and led to fixture postponements.

That is the view of former Villa and England striker Darren Bent who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted Dean Smith would want the points on the board instead of games in hand heading into the second half of the campaign.

Villa, who have played two fewer games than any other Premier League side, have their first rescheduled game against Manchester City on Wednesday before they play host to Newcastle United on Sunday.

Dean Smith’s men are also waiting on a date for their top-flight clash against Tottenham, which was postponed last week after the club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground was shut down following a Covid-19 outbreak among the squad.

Bent has admitted the Villans are in a “very, very tough” situation and that the prospect of many games in short succession will be worrying Smith.

Asked if he thought the threat of a fixture pile-up was a concern for Villa, Bent told Football Insider: “Yeah, massively, because I know it’s all well and good that you keep saying we’re in a good situation, we’ve got games but you’ve actually got to win them games in hand.

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“I’d prefer to have points on the board, as I’m sure they would as well.

“It’s a very, very tough one, I understand, and you’d rather get those points on the board than have to play these games.” 

Villa have won eight of their opening 15 league games so far and are only one point behind Arsenal in 10th despite having played three games fewer.

Their last top-flight fixture ended in a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United, which brought a five-game unbeaten streak to an end.

In other news, Football Insider can reveal an Aston Villa star has snubbed the chance to leave the club.