EXCLUSIVE

Danny Mills has backed Aston Villa to triumph in the play-off final against Derby County on Monday week.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-England defender believes the Midlands giants have the experience and pedigree to overcome Frank Lampard’s youthful and vibrant side.

Villa defeated West Brom on penalties on Tuesday night to book a place at Wembley on 27 May and, the following night, Derby clawed back a 2-0 aggregate deficit to beat Leeds United 4-3 over two legs.

“On the balance of play, I would make Villa the favourites,” Mills told Football Insider. “They have experience, they have been there before and have an experienced coaching staff, including John Terry who was there last year, which helps.

“But Derby have a young side with some talented players and sometimes there is a brilliant naivety about players who haven’t experienced big-match disappointments.

“It will be build up as John Terry v Frank Lampard, the Chelsea play-off, although I’m not sure that’s fair on Dean Smith. Derby will be the underdogs and Villa will have to deal with the pressure and expectancy.”

Villa finished fifth in the Championship, while Derby came in sixth to edge Middlesbrough and Bristol City out of the final play-off spot.

Lampard is in his first season as a manager, while Smith took over at Villa last autumn after quitting their Championship rivals Brentford.

In other Aston Villa news, it can be REVEALED that the club are plotting a swoop to sign a Rangers 27-year-old.