Dean Smith takes his Villa side to Derby on Saturday afternoon in the hope that they can pick up another three points that will bring them right back into the play-off mix.

However, it will probably be one of Smith’s toughest challenges yet as Frank Lampard, after a slow start, has got his side playing some very decent football. In fact, they have picked up 4 wins and 3 draws from their last 7 league matches.

Villa, who have 2 wins and 2 defeats under Smith, currently sit in 14th place in the table, but a win at the weekend, with other results going their way as well, could see them move up to 9th, just a few points away from the play-off places.

However, if Smith is being perfectly honest with himself, he will probably be content if Villa walk away from Pride Park with a point.

Here is our predicted Villa XI for Saturday’s game against Derby: