Alan fired up by new boys

Daily Star - - FOOTBALL -

DEAN SMITH in­sists As­ton Villa’s pro­mo­tion chances have not taken a dive, de­spite their hor­ror show at Wi­gan.

Just one win in seven games has seen them slip 12 points off the au­to­matic pro­mo­tion places and five off the play-offs.

But Villa boss Smith is back­ing the play­ers to get their pro­mo­tion push back on track.

“We have had two de­feats in 12,” he said. “We were poor, but I am not go­ing to lose sight of the play­ers I have got in that squad.

“I am not even look­ing at the ta­ble right now. There is a lot of abil­ity in that dress­ing room.

“The play­ers know this and it is down to them to turn it around.”

On the bright side they will not have to try too hard to im­prove on this per­for­mance as they were sec­ond best from the start.

Only some smart saves from Lovre Kalinic on his Cham­pi­onship de­but kept them in the game for the first 40 min­utes.

But there was lit­tle the Croa­t­ian could do about Gary Roberts’ opener af­ter some classy wing play from an­other new face, Wi­gan’s An­thony Pilk­ing­ton.

A spec­tac­u­lar div­ing header from Michael Ja­cobs on his re­turn af­ter three months out through in­jury and a penalty con­verted by Joe Garner in the sec­ond half sealed a de­served win for Wi­gan.

“It was a mas­sive win,” said Ja­cobs. “Es­pe­cially to get our home form go­ing again and a clean sheet was nice as well.

“We have to look for­wards as we have good games com­ing up against Sh­effield Wed­nes­day and Not­ting­ham For­est away where we can go toe to toe with those sides.

“If we get an op­por­tu­nity like we did to go and press Villa, then we have to go and do that against ev­ery team.”

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