Dean Smith isn’t blessed with much cover for Ollie Watkins as Wesley Moraes is still recovering from a knee injury while Keinan Davis has yet to score a goal in 22 Premier League games, so it was expected that a striker would be on Aston Villa’s transfer wishlist this month.

The solution to Smith’s quandary may be under his nose in Louie Barry, who described scoring on his debut in Villa’s FA Cup defeat to Liverpool as a ‘surreal moment’ and showed that he could deliver on the big stage. Smith has called him a ‘bright young kid’ in the past and should be delighted with his progress.

Villa’s wide men (Jack Grealish, Anwar El Ghazi, Bertrand Traore, Trezeguet) have netted 13 times in the Premier League this season while strikers Watkins and Davis have scored six between them (Transfermarkt), so it’s obvious where Smith needs to strengthen.


Barry has bagged seven goals in 11 matches for the under-23 side in addition to his memorable senior debut last Friday, so he knows where the back of the net is.

There should be space in the squad for the 17-year-old, too, as Smith named three full-backs (Neil Taylor, Ahmed Elmohamady, Frederic Guilbert) in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United on New Year’s Day, so why not drop one for Barry ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Everton?