Aston Villa manager Dean Smith


Noel Whelan has insisted Aston Villa are underperforming in the Championship and they should be fighting for top spot.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds United and Coventry City striker hailed the team’s stunning run, which has yielded seven consecutive league wins.

But he pointed out that the Midlands giants have failed to live up to expectations across the campaign given their financial resources and the calibre of their squad.

“It’s a surprise they are not fighting for top spot, they certainly should be,” Whelan exclusively told Football Insider. “They’re like a juggernaut right now, and I have no doubt they are the team everyone will want to avoid in the play-offs.

“Everything has clicked into place, they are defending better and the players are getting used to the demands of Dean Smith.

“But, given the quality of the squad, the money spent, the parachute payments and their resources compared to the rest of the Championship clubs, Villa are underachieving. Quite frankly, I’m not impressed how they’ve performed across the whole season.”

Villa are fifth in the league with a haul of 66 points from 41 matches, which gives them a five-point buffer from Middlesbrough in seventh place.

Automatic promotion is almost mathematically beyond Smith’s side, with second placed Leeds United or third-placed Sheffield United only needing to win one more game apiece to remove that possibility.

In other Aston Villa news, it can be the REVEALED that the club are readying a £30million move for a Villa player after jetting in for a transfer mission.