The Aston Villa hierarchy will be desperate to get one over former head coach Dean Smith when they visit Norwich City tonight, according to Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield.
The two clubs will meet in a key Premier League clash at Carrow Road, with both sides looking to pick up three points as a hectic festive period gets underway.
What’s the latest news on the managerial situation at Villa and Norwich?
Smith was sacked by Villa last month after a downturn in form had seen the Midlands club suffer five defeats on the spin.
His dismissal came less than 24 hours after Daniel Farke had been shown the door by Norwich.
Canaries sporting director Stuart Webber was tasked with spearheading the search for Farke’s successor, with him quickly drawing up a three-man shortlist of contenders which included Smith, Frank Lampard and Southampton chief Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Smith went on to clinch the top job at the Norfolk club, meaning the 50-year-old was back in the dugout just eight days after being axed by Villa.
His previous employers, meanwhile, opted to appoint Steven Gerrard as they looked to enjoy an upturn in form.
Heading into tonight's clash, Smith admitted he has moved on quickly from being dismissed by his boyhood club.
What has Luke Hatfield said about the situation?
Hatfield has admitted that Villa’s owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, along with chief executive Christian Purslow, will be particularly keen to bag all three points tonight due to Smith being in the opposition dugout.
The journalist reckons the decision-makers will believe they were proven right to dispense of Smith’s services if he is on the receiving end of a defeat at the hands of Villa.
Norwich 0-1 Man United: Full reaction on The Football Terrace as Cristiano Ronaldo nets controversial penalty...
Hatfield told GIVEMESPORT: "The Norwich game obviously has the whole Dean Smith subplot to it and Villa will be really keen to show that they made the right call.
"There's a lot of love there for Dean Smith and he left on amicable terms. He was really good and he had a really good relationship with the club, the players and Christian Purslow, so there's no bad blood there at all.
"But it will always be the case when you get rid of a manager and bring another one in, when you next face them, you want to make sure that you win."
How have Smith and Gerrard performed in their new surroundings?
Having enjoyed a promising start to his Norwich reign by guiding his new club to a 2-1 win over Southampton in his first match at the helm, Smith has been unable to seal a victory since.
He has collected five points from as many fixtures since making the switch to Carrow Road.
From the same number of outings, Gerrard has led Villa to three triumphs and two defeats.
They go into tonight’s contest with Norwich bottom of the Premier League table and Villa sitting in 13th.News Now - Sport News